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Heat Wave White Sunflowers, 20X20, oil, Live Painting for The Joyful Brush


Every morning I take my tea in the garden. Even though I can’t stay outdoors long, with the Texas summer heat, it helps me to clear my head and take a few deep breaths before diving into my crazy schedule. Making peace with my day before it begins is a lot like making peace with each painting. Good or bad, fast or slow, a triumph or a tragedy, it’s taken years for me to learn to part graciously with some pieces, and let them simply be what they were intended to be – practice.

By no means do I endorse walking away from a problem, but you do have to pick your battles. For example, I refuse to talk to the new electronic trashcan the hubby has installed in the kitchen. You’re supposed to say “open can,” and – voila – the lid opens like magic. Alternatively, you can wave your hand over the top and the lid opens. That I can live with. However, each time I walk by, the lid always opens, as if to thumb its sensor at me and say, “Smell me!”  Carlos says it’s because I’m not walking by correctly. So, you see, this is a battle I won’t win.

However, if you’re painting at least three times a week, sooner or later you’ll realize there is more ahead to learn, than running in place. Taking the same subject and starting fresh with a new approach is sometimes a better solution than placing the offending painting at the foot of your bed for a year, in an attempt to puzzle out all the problems. And, yes, I am guilty of having done exactly that.

If you’re painting daily, or at least three times a week, in less than a year, your body of work is going to evolve beyond the piece into which you’re investing all your angst. You can paint the same subject again, later in your journey, and it will look vastly different from your original. Walking away and coming back with a clear mind and a different point of view, is the best way to start fresh. And, sometimes, on second approach, we’ve forgotten to be afraid of the subject. Isn’t it funny how we artists give vast amounts of energy to our shortcomings, and call off the party early when we should be celebrating the parts we got exactly right, even if that celebration is just a glass of tea in the garden with your favorite pug and a few bumblebees!


PS – Congratulations to Kate Nicholson, winner of the $100 Dick Blick art supply gift certificate! A million thanks to everyone who entered by leaving a comment on my blog! We have another big giveaway coming your way soon so stay tuned to the blossom blog and share your thoughts right here to be entered – I love hearing from you!

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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. It’s all about the journey, learning from each step along the way, and finding ourselves as we climb each perceived mountain. Thank you for always reminding me that the positive approach is healthier in all levels!

  2. Love your blog Nancy…I am with you on not talking to the trash can…talking to my dogs all day is ok though.. I use to do a lot of fabric art…If I was unsure I would leave it in another room and try and come back with fresh eyes..sometimes it worked….I hope to get to a point where I will paint several times a week and not feel I have to finish the painting in one sitting.

  3. I’ve only just recently discovered you. I love the flower paintings, and am now dabbling in oils, since your techniques won’t work in watercolor ( I have to leave the whites white, and it’s easy to paint over them). Now, if I could have your flower garden here in Colorado at 7500 feet above sea level, I would be in heaven.

  4. Hi Nancy – I am so guilty of doing what you described – leaving an offending painting and wonder how to get it right!! There are 2 canvas boards with peonies lying around at home that I refuse to look at some times!!! I should just be a big girl and get over it and be more disciplined with my practice….thanks for a great post

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