Paint a response.

After experimenting with a variety of website layouts, I settled on this one. I like the simplicity of it but it no longer displays my tagline: “Make time for what is important. Experience Nature. Paint a response.” Today I struggled with the demons of doubt and fear. Time was wasted. The negative thoughts told me that I am not good enough. They said I deserve to take a break. The demons did not want me to experience nature or paint anything, they wanted me to waste time. If I go through my one and only life without honing my art skills and without communicating my ideas, they win. I am glad that a different thought occurred to me: “Wait. How is it that I am both not good enough AND deserving of a break? I think I will no longer listen to you”. Figuring out how to keep my routine of painting and hiking is a puzzle I need to figure out. To silence the negativity I set up a still life and drew a sketch.

drawing in spiral notebook of a leaf and jigsaw puzzle pieces.
Oak leaves and puzzle pieces both have that inside curve.

I looked out the window and was struck by the beauty of the setting sun and the contrast of the white snow on the black tree trunks and branches.

drawing in spiral notebook of trees and a house and a lightpost.
Looking uphill at the neighbor’s house I was struck by the contrasting colors.

The daylight hours were done. It was time to make supper. I did not want to stop. It had been so long since I had created a big painting. To convince myself that I would return to artmaking after supper, I prepared a full sheet of watercolor paper and put water on the dried up colors in my pallate. By the time supper was over the colors were softened and ready. My plan was to create large areas of blended color to serve as a background for a future contour drawing of leaves and puzzle pieces.

painting on an easel. Abstract shapes and bright colors.
Background for a future drawing or painting?

Is this painting a response to hiking? Sort of. Yesterday I walked 4.55 miles (7.3 km) at Central Park in Roseville, Minnesota, USA. It was close to zero degrees Fahrenheit. I was properly dressed in many layers so it was an enjoyable walk. Part of it was on the boardwalk at the Nature Center through deep snow. Great view and hard work. Most of my walk was on the path that was cleared of snow. Those views were also enjoyable and the going was easy. The degree of difficulty did not affect the quality of the visual experience. Hmmm. I think there may be a connection to explore further.

wood bridge, trees, snow, water.
Central Park, Roseville, Minnesota, USA
wooden bridge, snow, trees, a plowed road going over the bridge and a lake on the right side
Central Park, Roseville, Minnesota, USA

I hope this blog is helpful to creative people who like to hike. I find that the meditative rhythm of footsteps on a long walk clears my mind and lets my ideas develop. Usually I return to my art refreshed and ready. As I struggled today to get to work creating, I imagined doubt and fear as actual little creatures. To defeat them I had to choose a small attainable goal. As I was doing the first sketch, they gave up and walked away.

What are your tricks for overcoming doubt and fear? We can all use a few more tools in our toolbox.

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