When It all Falls Apart, Are We Just Tilting at Windmills?

Let the Joy In Peonies and Roses
Let the Joy in Roses and Peonies, painted live on Facebook, 12X12, oil


I’m incredibly honored to be a featured artist in the December 18 online issue of The Dallas Business Journal for my painting, Let the Joy in Roses and Peonies and as a leading artist in the Dallas art market in their 2017 Book of Lists. What a joy and privilege to be featured in this amazing publication!

This weekend my husband and I saw The Best of Broadway at the Dallas Summer Musicals for our anniversary. Multiple Tony award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell performed The Impossible Dream from the hit musical Man From LaMancha, and it was the first time I had heard it in person. As I listened to the words, I was utterly still, riveted and frozen from the impact of the power of the voice and the message. I could not help but compare this story to that of an artist: someone ridiculed for an impossible quest, a pursuit not to be taken seriously.

I think we as artists all feel the scorch of derision from time to time, and we all get discouraged, if not from others’ words and society’s dismissal, then by the utter solitude of hours alone in the studio. Learning, painting, constructing, deconstructing, self-doubting, self-questioning, destroying and erasing and wiping and starting again and starting again and starting again.

And all the while wondering, are we just tilting at windmills?

As we persist and push past the fear, it’s those moments of victory in solitude with a color, a stroke placed just rightly so, or a finished painting that at last pleases. The completion reminds us of the noble intention in choosing to create beauty in a world filled with those who choose to destroy. Perhaps it is a small thing, this ripple of art we effect upon others and on the air and light around us, these paintings we send out and mail out and hang on walls in cafes and galleries and post and pin and share in social media groups. We are the ocean of color, light and form, we are a multitude of artists now connected together, a chorus filling the void with the something fresh, something unique, something original. There is an energy to what we do, and it is a beautiful feeling. Freud might call it catharsis. Joseph Campbell called it bliss.

But to be an artist, is to know you are an artist. It is completely undeniable and it never leaves you, the desire to create. It is a duty, and even better, it is a privilege. It’s so important to surround ourselves with others who lift us up, and who do not tear us down. Art is intrinsic to who you are, and most artists are so empathetic. Artists should be here to strengthen one another in rough times, and to celebrate with one another in those joyful moments. Take care to guard that beautiful muse, that creative spirit that is uniquely, gorgeously, and undeniably you!

Have you ever felt discouraged and found something to inspire you as an artist, that one thing or person who helped and encouraged you to keep moving forward when you were ready to give up? Your words may be exactly what someone needs to here right now, so please share your heart and your story with me by leaving a comment on this post.

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Nancy Medina

Nancy is a master signature artist and instructor with over 1800 online students from around the world. She has worked with Disney, served on the art faculty of the Dallas Arboretum, and teaches workshops in France, Italy and across the US. More about Nancy

Reader Interactions


  1. Oh Nancy, how did you know I needed this today? You have given me a new dose of inspiration and courage. I have been putting it off way too long for the very reasons you mentioned: fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, of not knowing if it really matters. The Impossible Dream seems possible only to the fearless, but with God, everything is possible! I love Man of La Mancha… saw it in H.S. during film festival week in our Spanish class. It touched my heart back then, but makes more of an impact today, now that there are more years added to my life. Thank you for being a blessing to so many! Hugs! Praying for a safe trip to Santa Fe, and many more inspiring paintings to come!

    • Rose I’m so glad that was uplifting for you! And thank you for letting me know. I’m sending many good thoughts to you!!

    • Thanks Cindy, I have a degree in journalism, but left behind the pen for the brush years ago!

  2. I have been teaching painting and painting for 40 years and I think it should be about the process not so much the product. To be able to paint is so joyful and satisfying. How lucky we are! We get to experience the fun, the joy and cameraderie of other artists. Love it!

    • Diane I agree with you wholeheartedly! How fortunate you are to have taught for so long, what a beautiful legacy you will leave!

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