The Rise and Fall

Charlenes peonies 16X16
Rise Up Peonies, 16X16, oil, information

It’s been an eventful spring in my new Colorado Springs studio, but the sun has made an appearance, and the cold is receding. Ten days out from Carlos’ hip surgery, a very tough road of recovery is behind us, and I find myself back in front of the easel, feeling my way slowly but surely back into the arms of this painting obsession that has led my life completely and wholly. And therein lies the challenge. After a particularly frustrating attempt at placing purple irises on a yellow background, learning once again that these two colors atop one another result in a muddy red, I wonder, have I forgotten all I’ve learned? I set this large canvas aside long enough for it to dry, and process. I dig through notes from past classes. I soul search. And I remember:

All artists have these moments of frustration and failure, believing we simply cannot get anything right. The pit opens under us, and the harsh inner dialog of self-judgment begins. And because the cake needs a little icing, at this point in time, as we begin emerging from a forced isolation, there are moments of quiet terror. How to counter this? It takes work. But then I remember I started this journey for the love of color and the joy of creating.

Every painting, good or bad, that I create, changes me in some way.

Maybe it’s the upside of old age, but I’ve learned to aggressively protect my creative side, to treat my muse with care and love: Turning off negative shows on TV, unfollowing social media channels that contribute to darkness, setting aside quiet time to nurture my creativity.

I remember to forgive myself for still having more to learn. Artists throughout history have struggled with self-doubt and criticism, from without and from within. Monet put his foot through several of his water lily paintings and burned others because he was convinced the world would not understand his new works. Just as a universe of critics lined up outside his door to rip and tear, so it does for each contemporary artist today who has the courage to share work publicly.

This journey is a dance, a rise and a fall. Not every painting is a success, not every moment is shining lights and acclaim. But that singular moment when you step away from a new work on your easel, and you know deep within, with all your heart, that it is good, that is the moment that revives. The real measure of an artist is learning to ascend after stumbling, no matter how bruising or enduring the downward spiral. Tapping into the fuel that started this journey, an undeniable drive as a creative, is not just what keeps us moving forward. It is why we are who we are, and nothing can ever change that.



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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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