Finding the Way Home

I often speak of art as being a journey. It is, indeed. Pursuing my interest in art has led me to many places and taken me down many different roads. What makes this journey different from most, though, is that as I travel, I have no idea where I’m going.

I’m wandering along the artistic landscape, seeing the sights, meeting people, and making friends. I’m stopping here and there, exploring areas of interest, and then, after a time, moving on to someplace new.

As with any “road trip”, there are many moments to remember, a few I’d rather forget, and an undeniable sense of destination. Even though I don’t know where this journey will take me, I know that I’m going somewhere.

T.-S.-EliotPoet T. S. Eliot once said, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

I’ve always loved art but in the past, I didn’t have the  knowledge or the ability to create it. Both, — knowledge and ability — can be obtained with desire, determination, and devotion. We can learn; we can become artists.

In many ways, art does take us back to where we began, back to childhood, back to playful days scribbling pictures of houses, flowers, and suns, grabbing crayons and our favorite coloring books, and making awesome messes with fingerpaints.

First Winter SceneAs artists — and it’s such a delight to count myself as one — we’re always searching for the way back home, which is another way of saying that we’re searching for ourselves. To me, it’s much like being lost in the woods — you know how I feel about trees and forests. It’s a beautiful place to be, but it can also be overwhelming, maybe even a little frightening at times.

I’m wandering around, or, to use one of my favorite words, I’m meandering, moving along with no particular place to go, and that’s all right because here and there I find little pieces of myself. It’s a process called “re-membering”, that is, taking the individual parts or members and reassembling them. I’m re-creating myself.

Winter MorningWhat a thought! To re-create ourselves through art. Don’t you love that word? It’s a word that speaks not only of creation but also of enjoyment. Our art is in the most truest sense, an act of recreation.

Today I’m sharing a few of the bits and pieces of myself I’ve found recently. Not works of art, but artistic playthings that have helped me discover a little more about who I am and who I want to be as an artist.

I’ve enjoyed painting these simple landscapes, playing with the colors, and creating the quiet mood that seems to settle over each of these watercolors.

These two wintry scenes give me a peaceful feeling. I want to do more of these quiet landscapes.

Mountain Lake Scene

A more colorful scene is this mountain lake with the skies reflecting in the water. A very different palette, a very different image, yet still a feeling of serenity and peace.

I do think this is who I want to be. I think what my voice as an artist is trying to say is “Stop here and rest for a moment before you travel on.”

I hear that voice inside, speaking first to myself. It’s telling me to spend a little time where I am, contentedly exploring watercolor, hiking along trails of my imagination, and gazing up at the vastness of the skies.

But I want others to hear that voice, as well. I want my paintings to express those quiet moments in life where we step away from the hustle and bustle of the world around us, times when we go into the woods or sit at the edge of the water to reflect upon who we are.

I think I’m beginning to find my home — at least for a time.




    1. They’re all 9 x 12. I’ve been doing them as “practice” pieces like I did previously with the mountain scenes. It’s giving me a chance to play around with different landscape elements, and I’m really learning a lot. Plus, it’s fun, especially playing with colors and mixing my own. Thanks for the kind words!

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      1. Thanks so much, Jade. I do want to explore as much as possible before I start “narrowing down”. Eventually I want to find one or two things that really express who I am with my art, and then I want to develop as much skill as I can in those areas. I don’t want to be too scattered, but I don’t want to get too focused too soon. Does that make sense?

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  1. I think those “practice” pieces are nice! I hate that!!! Not your pieces. What I mean is that for some reason, you give me a piece of cheap canvas and tell me practice and I come out with something really good…tell me to do the same thing on a more expensive piece of canvas…it is like I lock up. It is like golf. I have been told that I have a beautiful practice swing…but put a ball in front of me and I look like Charles Barkley! It is such a mental game!!! Anyway, I just want to say that I think your water colors are coming right a long, practice or not and I can not wait to see where you are next year at this time if you are still doing water color or whatever you are learning at that time. How exciting.

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    1. I think “practicing” does give us a sense of freedom, and that’s so important in any creative endeavor. I’m finishing a painting this morning where I had no choice but to take that approach. It was far, far beyond my limited technical watercolor skills, but it was a painting I really wanted to do, so I just went ahead and did it and gave myself permission to create a very imperfect painting. It was such a relief to approach it that way. I’ll be posting it later this week. Meanwhile, how are the excavators coming along?

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  2. Excavators….I’m all locked up!!!! I’m hoping once I get everything all put away and cleaned up from camping I will be ready to try them t it is almost like I am trying to find things to do to keep away from painting. Ugh. The dread is outweighing the excitement.

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    1. It’s tricky to paint something for someone, I’ve learned. My brother-in-law saw one of my oil pastels and wanted one. Suddenly every oil pastel I tried looked like crapola. Then one daughter saw the conte landscape I posted recently and asked me to make one for her. I must have ruined a half-dozen sheets of paper. I was so nervous and worried about “getting it right”. Thankfully, I delivered the signed and framed picture to her yesterday and she loved it. It sure felt good to have it done. LOL. It’s awful when we feel burdened by expectations. I know you’ll do great on the excavators, but I know, too, how nerve-wracking a project can be at times. And, btw, where are the pictures from camping?


      1. It is tricky and I never know what I am gonna get and I know that what I like isn’t necessarily what others like and I worry worry worry. I did start on the excavator this morning. Just a little baby 11 X 14. I figure I have a good 4 hours or so left on it. Should be interesting to see how it turns out. No flowers. 😦

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      2. I’m glad you got that painting done and out of the house! That is always such a relief. I have a few pictures from camping. Some deer and cactus and a few of crazy clouds. I might have to post them at some point. Rainy and windy…

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      3. I don’t know. I rarely paint from life and photographs…usually out of my head from things I have seen. I might…who knows!!!! The cactus in bloom are cool so maybe.

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  3. Beautiful post! You definitely think like an artist and I love that quote by T.S. Eliot. I agree with Laura, it sounds like you are a landscape artist. Your sentiments, thoughts and sharing yourself is so integral to being an artist. Discovering and then returning, you conveyed that so well, something I know, experienced and thought about but I have never read before. Your post would not have been the same without your paintings. I enjoyed reading this so much! If I ever shared your post, would that be alright in an upcoming post of mine?

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    1. I’d be honored, Margaret, if you chose to share my thoughts. I’m such a fan of your blog and your artwork. I am starting to think more like an artist, and best of all I’m learning to see and to feel what I’m painting. This morning I learned what it really means to paint from our heart, and I’m so glad I’m able to share my experiences with others. We learn from others we meet, and all of the artists I’ve gotten to know have been so encouraging and inspiring. I wouldn’t be where I am on my journey today without you and many other bloggers I’ve “met”. Thank you for sharing your own experiences with me.

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      1. I will be sharing some thoughts in line with what you just wrote…about this community of blogging artists and what it has done for me. I will then tag your blog post along with that. Not sure when because I want to think about it and of course the timing. When I read your post, it sang “artist” throughout… are experiencing it, allow it to show up from your heart through your hand and brush. 🙂

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      2. We have such a supportive community, don’t we! It’s a joy each morning to “check in” and see what everyone has been doing. I’m getting a late start on my blog-reading today. I’ve been busy painting! So now, I’m off to “visit” everyone.

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    1. Thank you! I am enjoying the “quiet” scenes I’ve been painting. It’s helping me understand how to address different landscape elements — lakes, trees, mountains, skies. Now, little by little, I can find ways to put them together. I’ve enjoyed doing these simple scenes with different palettes, too. I’m enjoying them a lot.

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  4. this is a brilliantly insightful post Judith. one that each one of us would benefit from reading and taking in everything you’ve written. loved it. I adore the sky aglow with the forest 🙂

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