Things I've learned about life from painting.

After my first few attempts at watercolor, I wanted to quit because the pictures didn't look the way I had imagined they would. Fortunately, I had started gardening at about the same time, and with picture in hand from Better Homes and Gardens and $100 worth of potted plants, I renovated a garden space expecting the result to look like the photograph. Of course, it did, but only after three years of growing, tending and nurturing. That taught me to take the long view with painting as well. My vision will always exceed my skill, but somewhere along the line, today's skill catches up to yesterday's vision and as long as I keep growing, today's vision will be possible at sometime in the future.

Give up on perfectionism. It's a killer. Kills the joy, kills the freedom, kills the motivation!

You also are an artist. I can prove it. Each person is created by God in His image and He is the great artist, for His creative nature is expressed in His creation and through His creation. Skill is another matter. It can only be learned through hard work, discipline and time.

Each person has a unique message to bring to the world. No one else can bring that message but you, because only you have lived your set of life experiences so only you can see life through your particular lens. Find a way to share your message with the world through some creative outlet!

The darkest dark and the lightest light and the most irregular shapes create the area that the viewers eye goes to automatically. It creates a center of interest in a painting. It's a lot like life, don't you think? Those whose lives have grown through crisis or suffering demonstrate a complexity of character that is engaging, and their joy shines the brighter because of the darkness they have experienced.

Transparent colors sink deep into the fibers of the paper, becoming one with the paper and change the color of the paper permanently. Opaque colors sit on the surface. The application to life is so obvious I won't even go there.

Paintings that are too tightly controlled lose all their beauty. Spontaneity and mystery invite the viewer to explore.

It's just a piece of paper!! Fear of ruining a 5 or 10 dollar piece of paper prevented me from trying to learn new things.

Sometimes, a painting fails, but you can wash off the original colors and shapes and start over again. The new painting is actually more beautiful because of its greater complexity and layers of meaning. So, failure becomes a springboard to success, and the mistakes we make in life can produce a depth and maturity that comes with knowing that we are not in control of the universe and that we need to depend upon the One who is.

The butterfly teaches us that even spots and stains can be extremely beautiful when surrounded by radiant color and set free to fly.

Everyone experiences fear. The big question is, am I going to let fear stop me?