Tag Archives: confidence

Inner Child

Today in the gym, a rather handsome, muscular young man strutted into the cardio theater.  He stepped onto the elliptical trainer next to me, plugged in his headphones, and turned on his TV.  I watched him scroll through the channels, stopping when he saw the movie “Up” which was playing on the Disney Channel.  I, coincidentally, was watching it, too.  I am guilty of watching emotional movies while riding the elliptical trainer, and I’ve laughed out loud and even cried in the cardio theater more times than I can count.  I am a woman, a mother, and a former elementary school teacher.  I couldn’t be more in touch with my inner child, and I honestly don’t care who sees me laugh, cry, or gush over a Disney film.  The gym, however, is a raging sea of testosterone where men swim silently like predatory sharks, making sure all those around them can feel their presence and power.  Men in the gym try to appear very…manly.  While there are several man-approved channels on the cable line-up in our gym, this particular young man chose to watch a Disney movie.  He is obviously in touch with his inner child, but more importantly, he’s not afraid of what other people might think.  I have a feeling he will make a great husband one day, and one heck of a dad.

“Inner Child”–Pen and Ink–From my Sketchbook


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Be Prepared

I am a sun-loving native Floridian who shivers uncontrollably when the temperature drops below seventy degrees, so it’s no wonder my friends and family scoffed after hearing that I was traveling to The Big Apple during the month of December.  My friends who grew up in New York had one word of advice for me: Layer.  In Florida, ‘layering’ means throwing a cardigan over your shoulders, or wearing a light jacket over your t-shirt, but this trip called for hard core layering.  Knowing how much I loathe the cold, I vowed to be comfortable during my weekend in the big city, and that meant being prepared.

I purchased a packable puffer coat and a purse-sized umbrella since the forecast called for not only cold temperatures, but a 90% chance of rain.  I packed jeans, sweaters, jackets, heavy socks, gloves, and my first pair of Uggs.  And while it was cold, damp, and rainy, I was warm and dry because I was prepared for the harsh elements–not only physically, but also mentally.

On my Artist’s Journey, I am sometimes faced with less than favorable conditions, too.  And while layers of clothing can’t protect me from harsh criticism and frigid reviews, I can build up layers of confidence that will guard my Inner Artist who tends to shiver when her soul is exposed to the elements.  So my words of advice to my Inner Artist are simple–hold your head high, pile on the layers, and be prepared.

“Bundled” –a quick self-portrait in graphite from my travel sketchbook


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Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

While I love to paint, I’m never 100% sure of myself in painting class.  Acrylic is a new medium for me, and I find myself in a constant state of internal conflict over my work.

This week’s class assignment was a full color still life. It consisted of random objects placed together on a fabric-covered table.  We were instructed to use a planar style of painting–more impressionistic than realistic.  I watched our professor’s demonstration, made precise mental notes, and got right to work.

I mixed my colors carefully and made short directional strokes that defined the planes of each object in the still life.  My instructor complimented me on my progress, and my confidence soared. I proudly forged ahead with a new-found certainty in my brush strokes.

Madi, a fellow student and accomplished painter, strolled in late, set up next to me, and began painting the still life.  Our professor encourages us to look at each other’s work, but when I glanced at Madi’s beautifully blended oil painting, I panicked.  Suddenly, the acrylic impressionistic piece I was so proud of looked primitive and crude.

I was instantly transported back to a junior high test, thinking I had written the perfect paragraph-long answer to an essay question until I looked at my neighbor and saw her page-long response.  I instantly began to write more.  I had to fill the page!  Longer is better, right?  Blended is better, right?  I frantically squirted out a glob of “Matte Medium” and began to blend away all of the impressionistic strokes on my canvas.  I could feel my professor standing behind me, and even without looking back, I could tell that her head was cocked in disapproval.

“What happened here?” she asked.  “Everything got sort of blended together.”

“I looked at Madi’s beautifully blended work,” I confessed.

“It is beautiful, but Madi missed my demo.  She doesn’t understand what we’re supposed to be doing today.”

“Oh…” was all I could manage as I mentally prepared to correct the damage I had inflicted on my painting.

As I fell from the heights of Compliment Mountain to the lowly Valley of Corrections, I realized what I had done.  I had let another student’s work define my own.  Just because someone else’s work is longer, prettier, or more beautifully blended doesn’t mean it’s right–or better.  I need to have more confidence in my own work and trust myself instead of always painting in a state of uncertainty.  And maybe, until I’m a little more comfortable with this new medium, I should keep my eyes on my own paper.


“We Three Kings”–my acrylic, planar, impressionistic still life–unfortunately, still in progress!


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