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Daily-ish Painting

Angel Dust Poppies 36X36
Angel Wing Gold Poppies, 36X36, acrylic

It’s been a busy few months in Joyful Brush Studio here in sunny Colorado Springs, as the final touches on the new art space are in place, and a new online class in acrylics launched this week. Launch day for a new online class is equal parts exhilaration and equal parts terror. Will all the bells and whistles click into place after months of work and planning? Fortunately for me, I have a team made up of the best in the business to make all those really complicated bits appear seamless. I’m still not sure where I would be today without Jude, Rachel, Melissa, Joel and Mister Cameraman Carlos. As for me, I just paint the daisies!

Thinking about how far this journey has come, from the day I left corporate America, to the completion of my third studio space in 10 years, there is one important habit that’s changed. I have stopped painting daily. Almost a decade in, I realized that painting daily had become more about producing than about assessing and analyzing. One of my first art teachers told me if I was really battling with a painting, and could not get the subject to do my bidding, to place the painting at the foot of my bed and to study it before falling asleep every night. My subconscious would work through the challenges while I slept, she said. I took her advice, and at the time a cottage painting took pride of place on a chair propped in front of my bedroom closet door. After months of gathering dust on that chair, I remember thinking I had had enough of that painting, and simply stuck it in the closet and moved on to other things. I never tried to change it. Instead, I changed my approach the next time I picked up the brush.

I’m a slow learner, in truth, and it takes falling down several times for me to learn how to achieve the softest landings. I learn best by failing, and I am best motivated when facing adversity. Telling me I cannot do something is a sure fire way for me to succeed. I come from a long line of stubborn women. So eight years into daily painting, it dawned on me that I was missing out on an important part of the journey – processing. When I stopped painting daily, and reduced my painting days down to four per week, I finally had time to think about what I had and had not achieved with recent works. There is a build up of motivation and inspiration that occurs, too, if you hold back and wait before releasing an idea onto canvas. The resulting painting is often better for it. I do allow myself excessive amounts of time now and then, when working on a really big project or a new class series, but the peace preceding the storm, the quiet before the chorus, has been sublime.

Angel Wing poppies bio
Angel Wing in situ, 36X36, acrylic

 

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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

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  1. I’m so glad you shared this as I have been trying to fit in painting daily as a way to keep myself going but sometimes it ends up feeling forced and I lose the inspiration. I did challenge myself and completed one a day for the whole month of January and I was so glad to be done at the end! Haha! I was afraid I wouldn’t make it! I think it’s ok to not paint every single day but a doodle here and there will still keep me going. I think if I can paint frequently each week though, I’ll be doing good and in between I can use time to reflect and analyze what I’m working on.

    • Cheryl I agree, it’s good to have those runs where you produce quite a bit, but I think the mind, soul and body benefit from a break, too. Stay safe and keep swinging that brush!

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