Planting the Seeds

birdsong peonies studio peek
Birdsong Peonies, 16X16, oil, information


A gentleman in an online art group announced today that there needed to be less effusive, undeserved praise of fellow artists’ work. He went on to explain that one should become a master of their craft, also, before sharing anything they have painted in a public forum. Which got me to thinking…

What would it be like for an artist, if no one said a word when the artist showed their work? How many times would the artist continue to show their work to the world, if no one ever shared a reaction? And who is the ultimate judge who determines which paintings check all the boxes for the title of masterwork?

I used to be a daily blogger, connected through the old “blogger” platform with a larger network of daily artists who shared their thoughts and works with others. When I see some of the older paintings I posted there, I cringe with horror at some, and am surprised that some were very good. We are all quite well equipped to pick our own work to shreds, and some of us never post anything without pointing out all the mistakes. Despite my early blunders and all the learning I have still to come, it has been the kind words and encouragement from others that spurred me on to the next step in my art journey.

While some like to bash Facebook and Instagram, I’ve found these platforms to be powerful tools for artists to connect, encourage and network with one another. I wonder where I would be today as an artist and as a teacher, if it weren’t for the uplifting words of other artists. Would I have kept painting? Was there anything in my life at which I excelled that was achieved without some beautiful champion spurring me ahead?

I recall high school and college teachers who celebrated my essays and creative writing projects, and a second grade teacher who hung my penguin artwork colored with silver crayons on the door of her classroom. I remember a first grade teacher who awarded me a tiny magnet for my drawing of an apple.

The real measure of whether it is a good or a bad painting is just one thing ~ Does it make your heart sing? And the only bad painting is the painting that was not completed.

blog july quote

french alps 2

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June 2020 ~ Your summer escape awaits!

You are invited to join Nancy for a summer getaway to the magnificent French Alps. There is no more beautiful escape from the summer heat than spending 10 days in the heart of the lovely  medieval village of Annecy, known as “The Venice of France” with its canals, flower gardens, cafes and shops.

Learn more about the French Alps painting getaway!

After flying into Geneva, Switzerland, we’ll make our home in The Splendid Hotel near the shores of historic Lake Annecy. Your journey begins with a tour of Col de la Forclaz with lunch on the terrace of a dairy farm in the mountains. We’ll sample slices of charcuterie, cheeses, potato beignets, and fresh blueberry tarts with cream. We’ll tour the Chateau de Menthon St Bernard, a castle filled with 13th century furnishings, tapestries and a library of ancient manuscripts painted with illuminations from the monks of the Middle Ages. And this is all just Day 1!

During your journey workshop, you’ll have plenty of painting time with Nancy in the indoor studio at your hotel in Annecy. Nonpainters will enjoy additional tours and excursions while the painters are busy in the studio. This tour is filling quickly! Contact for registration details.




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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. Nancy you really spoke about an important subject. I had a conversation just yesterday with a friend about how important some of our teachers (in every subject) were to our general success in life. And how devastating some of our awful teachers were to our success or confidence. We were sitting at lunch at the Cafe in the Brandywine Museum in Chadd Fords, PA after seeing the new NC Wyeth Exhibit. We learned of his early support from his mother and how important it was. And then the influence and support he received in his entire life. Thank you for this post.

    • It’s so true, Joanne, and many of our cheerleaders were family members! Monet’s Aunt was his only champion when he first mentioned wanting to pursue painting. He had such an uphill battle, I wonder if he would have continued without that first little nudge from someone who cared.

  2. This is what attracted me to your instruction above so many others. It is encouraging of all skill levels and being kind has become so rare. This goes for any artistic endeavor whether that be painting, writing or whatever. Having the courage to put anything in front of others to judge or comment on is very difficult and requires courage as it is a piece of yourself. We all are attracted to encouragement and kindness and repelled by harsh criticism especially on very subjective endeavors such as art. Keep doing what you do.

    • Thank you Dee! That is so beautifully said! This world needs more kindness, and one of the things that hurts when I see it, is a teacher who tears down a student, or an artist tearing down a fellow artist. It’s like the difference between smiling and frowning. It takes less muscles to smile, and you feel better for doing it. It is not so hard to encourage, and both of you walk away feeling good after it happens. Why is it so hard for all of us to get on board with that?

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