Find Joy in the Skills You Have

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I find hilarity and humor in almost every situation. In fact you could say Joy is my middle name. Well, actually, it is my middle name. I am a child of the 60’s.

While I am a certified worry wart, it takes a lot to get me down. I live on the edge of one of the most visited and beautiful national parks in the country. Often I will just stand in my yard and gaze at the mountains in wonder. People spend millions of dollars to do what I can do for free.

At night the stars are bright and clear and the Milky Way looks like a footpath connecting the mountain tops. There’s something about staring at a sparkling, midnight blue sky that makes all your worries seem so trivial.

I have come to realize during my journey of discovery of oil painting that no matter who I try to emulate, my own spirit/soul/personality comes through.

I want so desperately to paint like my mentor/teacher Jeremy Doss, with his warm, peaceful, beautiful paintings. But even though I can sit behind him and paint the exact same thing with the exact same palette,

(french ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, viridian, sap green, transparent oxide red, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre pale, cadmium red deep, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, cadmium yellow pale, lemon yellow and white, in that order always around our palettes), mine always come out bolder, brighter, more fantasy than reality.

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The harder I tried to paint like him, the more discouraged I became. Then came the day that turned painting from a chore to a joy.

My class and Jeremy were plein air (fancy for outdoors) painting at the Visitor Center here in Townsend. It was a warm Spring day and the mountains were budding with new life.

A woman I admire very much walked up behind me. She looked at my painting, then Jeremy’s. She hugged me and whispered in my ear, “I love Jeremy with all my heart, but I like your painting better, it’s bright and bold just like you.” That was my Aha! Moment.

The reason I can’t paint soft, peaceful, calming paintings like Jeremy is because I am not a soft, peaceful, calming person like he is. I’m bright, bold and in your face. Just like my paintings.

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That was the day I decided to embrace the painter I was and not try to force myself to be what I’m not.  I removed the yellow ochre and replaced it with turquoise blue and permanent rose. I don’t necessarily paint what I see but what I feel or what I think it should look like. And that’s okay because that’s who I am.

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And I found my joy. Because as you know, Joy is my middle name.

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