20 August 2005

Baby Steps

I did one last magazine painting, this one bigger than the others, at a whopping 7x8". Each painting was taking more time as they became more complex, but it was so much fun. I had taken the baby steps to learn to trust myself again. Now I felt ready for some bigger steps. It was time to step out of the magazine.

Training Wheels

The limes painting was small, about 4x6", but it gave me confidence to try another. Take a step with the left foot, and then with the right foot, and then you are walking.

The magazine photos were my training wheels and I felt safe. I tried a more complex kitchen scene, also very small.

2 August 2005


Back around the time of my first painting, I had a friend named Debbie. As our kids played together, we cross stitched and read art magazines and dreamed of artistic success. We even did a craft show together, me with handwoven rag rugs, and Debbie with hand painted flower pots. Her pots were painted with her original 'country' motifs and were very popular. In fact, for several years Debbie would completely sell out at large craft shows. But they took a toll on her health. The weight of the terra cotta pots and the repetitive assembly line process was causing tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. The work became boring and she was underchallenged.

I had seen the few paintings she had done, and knew she was capable of much more than 'cute cows on pots'. I kept encouraging her to aim higher, but for Debbie at that time there was always just one more show to do.

With my move to Ontario, we lost touch for a number of years, until one day out of the blue I called her up.

Well. Whatever it takes to become a recognized and successful fine artist, Debbie had done it. She had worked hard in those years, and had taken her talent to great heights. She taught painting classes, her work was published in a national art magazine, she had a waiting list for commissions, and she was represented in two prestigous galleries. She gave me her web site, and when I looked it up, I cried. Her paintings were so good. It was clearly Debbie's style, but the work had matured so much. Once we were a couple of painter-dabbler-wannabes. Debbie had taken a decade of determination and focus and work, and acheived the goal. I had not.

It made me think.

And the thinking lead to painting. A fresh start. New determination. Focus. Goals. And Debbie as my shining example.

More than a year after the Niagara-On-The-Lake painting, I tentatively took up the brush again. For a whole month I did nothing but paint color swatches. I was like a musician practicing scales. I think I was afraid of failure.

The day came however, when I saw a photo in a decorating magazine. A simple bowl of limes. It seemed basic enough. Maybe I could paint it............