What I Learned from The King of the Forest!

My watercolor of Grandson Tyler Scheer.   King of the Forest!

I am a closet watercolor painter.  Unfortunately my perfectionism has kept me from painting for several years and made me afraid to show my work in public for fear of criticism.

I have thrown dozens of paintings away because they weren’t perfect.  On other paintings in an effort to get it perfect  I repainted so many times that the result was a gooey mess.  But this time was different. This time I was painting the King of the Forest!
With prodding and encouragement from two artist friends, Patsy Clairmont and Gail Hyatt, I decided to paint again. The little guy pictured above is of my Grandson Tyler Scheer.  I did three things differently in this painting that I will apply to my life.  I think this experience will help me live more fully and courageously in 2013.  Maybe you too.

1.  I let my self go.  Rather than trying to copy every detail of a photo, I tried to capture the spirit of this sweet, mischievous boy.

We often work so hard at getting every detail of our life perfect we miss the spirit of life.  We forget to have fun.  Even in the midst of the most arduous, important tasks there ought to be a sense of abandonment, risk and adventure. How long has it been since you let go?

2.  I painted bold shadows as well as  light.

Below is a painting of my lovely granddaughter Lexi.  It is a good likeness but the picture was painted with fear.  Fear of making a mistake.  

Watercolor can be very unforgiving.  Once a dark color like a shadow is applied there is


no way to lighten it.  What if I painted a shadow in the wrong place?  What if I ruined the picture?  As a result of this “what if” fear, Lexi’s picture lacks the texture and depth that will characterize my paintings from now on.

If you look closely at Tyler’s picture you will find many mistakes, but it is the combination of shadows and light and color that bring the painting to life.

Have you ever met someone that appeared perfect?  Pretty boring and fake huh?  But when a friend lets you see the shadows of their life as well as the highlights, they too come to life.

Such friends honor you with trust.  Their honesty honors God and magnifies His grace.  A painting with only highlights is a blank canvas. Same is true of a person who perpetuates the perception of perfection.  In 2013, paint real, be real!

3.  I finished it and shipped it!

Every assignment, every task eventually must be completed. You could tinker with it for the rest of your life and get nothing else done.  But with each task there is a time to finish.  A time to let go.  I decided that once I signed this painting it would be done.  The temptation is so strong to change it just one more time.

I painted this cowboy from a magazine over forty years ago and gave it to my mom.  While visiting her home last year, I was tempted to touch it up.  Mom threatened to hide the picture.

One of my first paintings.

As we approach the new year, I pray you will…

Trust God and let go!    Live outside the box, fully alive.

Be genuine! Let friends see the shadows in your life as well as the highlights.

Finish it and get it out there.  Do your best, sign it and Ship it!

Share it with us. Post your work on my face book page so we can enjoy it.

I look forward to your comments
Happy New Year