Thursday, August 2, 2012

Letting Go Of What's Holding You Back

If you are reading this, you most likely have an interest in art in some form or other. It could be painting, or tuba, or mountain climbing, or like my granddaughter Adriana, singing. There is a lesson that I have learned very late in life - it took me to 61 years to figure it out.
When you have a passion, sometimes you substitute other activities to appease that hunger. Often this is because circumstances don't leave you the time or opportunity to follow your dream. Substituting one activity for the one closest to your heart distracts you from following the true course of what you want to do.What you are meant to do. And sometimes that substitute seems to the casual observer to BE your passion, even when those who know you best know otherwise.
Afternoon at Holly's
Pastel - Available
1st place winner at Grant County Open New Mexico Show 2011
1st place winner at Black Range Painters Annual Show 2012
 I looked through my friends list on FB  this morning and came to a dear friend who simply by his smile reminded me of the cathartic time when I overthrew my substitute and decided to face failure and my fears. To follow my dream that had been subverted for years. Easy to do when you are raising a family.
You see I used to sew. I sewed a lot. Quilts, clothes, fancy stuff like fixing wedding dresses. If it could be constructed, I could sew it. Fabric took over one entire room of our house and I spent hours at the machine turning out Christmas gifts, things for grandkids and too many things to remember. I even created a Navy Chief's hat for a fat head to be used in an initiation.
Teapot and Magnolias
Oil Glazes on Board - Available
3rd Place Black Range Painters Annual Show 2012
But on that fateful day, I trundled bags and bags of fabric over to my friend's wife who belonged to some sewing circles and just gave it away. I wanted to let it own somebody else. It was almost like getting manacles removed.

I cannot describe the freedom I felt. 
What did I trade it for? 

Well I have days when I wonder what the heck am I thinking. Who told me I could paint? Will I ever paint anything that I am not in line first to criticize? The doubts are many and in my eyes the successes are few and far between. Oddly enough I seem to win some art shows here and do fairly well exhibiting. Am I a success? Yes and no. I still do not paint to the level I need to. I still can get sidetracked by home needs and other extraneous things that family and friends get you involved in. But that is good because painting is solitary.
I just won a first and a third at a show in Deming for the Black Range Painters. That was unexpected. And a nice surprise.  The area covers from Ruidoso to the southern border of NM, and East to West, from Lordsburg to El Paso.

Do I look longingly at fabrics, their bright colors arranged like a rainbow? Oddly enough, not any more at all. Now it's paint catalogs and swatches of bright pigment......what could I paint with that color??? So get rid of your shackes - embrace the uncertainty. Its way more of a fun ride. It has lows, but it has highs too, and they are worth it.

Favorite quote:

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.                                                                  (Robert Hughes)


  1. Nice one Louise. I think sometimes we fail to spot what is holding us back because it's just been around for so long we can't imagine being without it.

    I love the quote!

    1. Thanks Katherine. We can be our own worst devil's advocate. Dick often tells me to sign it and move on. And the quote is one that has really helped me on some of my worst days.

  2. Hi Louise, I found this post through Katherine Tyrrell's "Making a Mark" blog. I've just done exactly what you did. I decided enough was enough and stopped freelancing as a business analyst (much to my wife's consternation) and took up oil painting. I've given away my extensive business book collection and replaced it with books on art. It's early days yet but I'm enjoying the physical and emotional freedom. Time will tell if I have to buy back those books!

  3. Mick, how delightful to hear that you are following your heart. The money will come eventually. At least that is what I tell myself. I just keep working at it. You will be happier all the way around. I keep hearing something I heard at the movies. I think it was Groucho Marx who said "This isn't a dress rehearsal, you know." So if it's the big and real show, I want to play my own role. Stick with it.

  4. Thank you so much for giving those words! Just today I sat wondering what to do with my life after going through severe illness. My dream is to learn botanical painting and live a creative life and not to waste what is left of it.
    " This isn't a dress rehearsal, you know" will now be written on the wall of my little studio and will give me license to go on being creative;-)
    Many thanks again to you and to Katherine Tyrrell for the link to your blog!
    Kind regards , Charlotta from Sweden

    1. Charlotta, I am so happy that you seem to have found direction. A life with purpose is always richer than one just experienced. So grab that subject, your art materials and get cracking! I hope you stay in touch, and I'd love to see your work.

  5. I'm in the process of letting go of my needlework hobbies to spend more time on learning to draw and paint and like you I experienced such an incredible sense of freedom. In a way I think I needed to try out different things to finally come back to something that I did previously on irregular bases. However now I have a stronger belief that it is what I love doing and am happy to invest time and energy to learn to do it to my best abilities.