It’s All Been Worth It

Yesterday I wrote about “chipping away at the dots” — my strategy for putting the studio back into order. While I can’t say that cleaning and re-organizing is ever a “fun” project, I will say that going back through the art I’ve created has been a surprisingly positive experience.

We all know how important it is for us to keep our art and to occasionally look at all those old sketchbooks, those first hesitant drawings, the first watercolors and oil paintings we did. It’s always satisfying to go back, see where we were, and think, “Oh, my goodness! I’m definitely better now.”

That’s to be expected. I love digging out my first sketchbook and laughing over pages like this. So, you think my shading techniques are weak today? Maybe so, but I’ve come a long way since doing this exercise in 2015:

Or how about my watercolor techniques? I think I’ve improved a bit since I made this landscape as part of World Watercolor Month in 2016.

And it’s so much fun to look back at my very first landscape oil painting. This was in November 2016.

Again, improvement is to be expected. I’d be very concerned if I went through old drawings and paintings and didn’t see progress! All my practice has paid off. My art is definitely better now than it was back then.

But the surprising thing has been finding drawings and paintings — especially watercolors — that I thought were awful, yet as I see them now, I realize they really weren’t awful at all. Time after time, as I’m sorting through old paintings, I pick up a watercolor, study it closely, and ask “Did I really paint this?”

No need for me to post specific paintings here. I’ve posted them previously. Besides, it’s not really any single watercolor, any specific landscape oil, or any particular drawing that most impresses me. It’s the overall effect of the art I’ve created — to borrow a few words from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I love it all “to the depth and breadth and height”. Art is everywhere in my studio. From whimsical cartoon-like drawings, to landscape paintings that have received recognition at art shows, to brilliantly-colored abstracts, to soft, misty watercolor scenes.

And speaking of art shows, I made the drive from Harrisonville to Blue Springs on Friday morning to drop off my two entries for the weekend’s Fine Art Show — more on the show coming up in a future post. While I was gone, my husband’s parents and his aunt dropped by rather unexpectedly. They live about 1-1/2 hours away, and they rarely visit. They’d come to town for an appointment that morning and decided to stop by before returning home.

Although I wasn’t there, and even though they’ve all visited the art studio before, that was the one thing they wanted to see. My husband was happy to oblige. They went through stacks of watercolors, gazed at the many different oil paintings — on the walls, on the easels, on the drying racks — and simply enjoyed that sense of creativity that fills the air here.

Yes, it was still a mess — I haven’t chipped away all the dots yet — but they took it all in with delight. Markers sitting here. Brushes in a jar there. Ink pens on the desk. A cup filled with pencils. Colorful coasters with bright alcohol ink colors. A color wheel hanging on the wall. Little notes to myself, and various sketchbooks lying around.

They loved it. And more and more, I’m coming to realize how much I love my studio. Most of all, I’m feeling that it’s all been worth it. I’ve invested a lot of money in art supplies. I’ve invested a lot of time here, too. While I once doubted that I could ever learn to draw and thought I was throwing good money away when I bought my first sketchbook, I can stand here today and say that those investments — of time and money — were worth it.

I never thought I would become an artist. Yet, here I am, messy studio and all. It’s a colorful place, a fun place, a creative place. So, in this year of “celebrations” for me, that’s what I’m celebrating today. Welcome to my art studio! There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.



  1. I love the feel of creative spaces, and love the energy you give it. I just renovated my/office den/ creative space. In my sweetest dreams I would love it to look like a Pinspiration Studio. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been helpful for me to look beyond the “mess” and see the studio in terms of the creative output it holds. There’s such a variety, and so much color! I’m coming to appreciate it in new ways. That makes it even more fun to come here to play. 🙂


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