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Always Take Risks!


Taking a risk with a peony sketch
I took some risks with this peony sketch and learned a lot about the petals and the inner glow peonies have.
This sketch is ok, but the paintings it leads to will be excellent.

Artist isn't exactly a risky profession. Sure, I've climbed up cliffs for the perfect viewpoint, hiked miles to see a waterfall, stood in traffic at Times Square, been stranded painting on an island and stood up in front of an audience and painted a demo...

A peony painting from last year.

All of the wonderful things in my life happened when I took a risk. The best of life happens when I just take a leap and trust in God. When I take that leap of faith, amazing things happen.

I became an artist, following my dreams, instead of my college education. I started teaching painting workshops (when painfully shy and barely out of college). I pulled out of galleries and sold my work online during a recession. I stopped painting oil portraits and started watercolor. (The best personal one is I met and married my husband in four months!) Some of these things are very small things, but huge risks to me at the time.

I have never regretted taking a risk, only the ones I didn't take.

Most of my serious paintings I paint on gorgeous handmade Twinrocker paper with luscious M. Graham paints. My brushes aren't exactly disposable either. If I'm not willing to throw away a few pieces of paper, layer on washes of beautiful paint extravagantly or scrub with that sable brush, the painting will be lousy. If I don't take the chance of throwing the whole thing away every time and starting over, I will paint nothing fresh and new. Painting will be a tired routine repeating itself until I finally give up because being an artist is just not fun anymore.

The most essential ingredient in art is the ability to take risks. I'm not jumping off cliffs or driving a race car.

What I'm willing to risk is that with a single stroke of my brush, I can turn what is almost a masterpiece into a disaster. Without the willingness to take that risk, I will never have a masterpiece.

Now, I'm going outside and sketching peonies in my garden. And I'll learn a little more about painting!

What will you learn sketching this weekend?

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