Yep, that's right. It's a fine balance between art and science around here. The art is more fun, but the science is interesting, and moves me towards a career (it also pays my rent, however dinky the paycheck may be).
Research is a frustrating experiment. Eureka moments are far and few. There are many, many "back to the drawing board" situations, akin to seam-ripping and reapplying gesso to a painting that just isn't working. Sometimes, though, things work out. And then your advisor is happy. And then you (try to) publish a paper. And then you're one step closer to finishing a PhD.
It's nice to have projects to come home to when life at school is frustrating. I have plenty of "oh, $&#@!!" moments at the sewing machine and easel alike, but it keeps me happy and sane.