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End of Year Reflections

January 2, 2015

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Same Stuff...Different Approach

October 20, 2015



We use the word "work" in various ways. "I hate my work." Or "I have to go to work." And everyone's favorite, "Work, work, work....(said with a sigh). It appears that the word sounds negative in my ears. "Work" has connotations of drudgery, something to be avoided. Tedious. Soul-soucking.


Blessed are those who love their work.


I worked hard this past week.  I worked doing something I love - painting - and I both embraced this work and avoided it.


At the John C. Campbell Folk School in little Brasstown, NC, I dipped my toes into the worlds of oil painting and of plein air painting. I moved into not one, but two, zones of discomfort, being new to both oils and painting outside.


I had to struggle to leave behind old ways of painting - of using multiple colors, of using lots of brushes, of applying paint on top of paint, of painting in the comfort of my studio, and of working on large canvases. I no longer washed my brushes between colors, I wiped them dry. I worked wet-on-wet and held my breath, hoping the colors would hold and not turn into muddy mush. Given only two brushes, I used two brushes. I swatted bugs and hoped I would be able to pick them out of my painting once it had dried.

I learned to check my colors in the sunshine and not to rely on the colors as shown in the shade. I reminded myself again and again to put down a stroke...then stop...put down another stroke...and then stop again.  Painting wet-on-wet, fat-to-lean, turned my comfortable world of acrylic painting upside down.


Tired at the end of each day, I spent a few minutes every night reviewing the days' successes and failures. I gently reminded myself each day "process, not painting."


I came to the Campbell Folk School to learn. I learned. I painted. I succeeded. I failed. I rejoiced in my time here. I have no regrets.


I worked. Hard.


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