Hi friends!  I wanted to post a couple of comments I have shared with the Life Book group when folks have felt down about their art – either unhappy with the results, or just feeling intimidated when seeing other artists whose work they admire.  It is important to remember that everyone goes through moments of being unimpressed with what we create.  Please remember that the main thing that is done by the artists we love is they KEEP PUSHING FORWARD.  They didn’t allow themselves to be defeated or discouraged when what they see on their page doesn’t match what is in their head.  Don’t give up.  Every time we create, we learn, and we move closer to where we want to be.

Posted to Life Book Facebook Group January 15, 2016:

Art Comparison

Hi all – I’ve been seeing some frustration from folks that are unhappy with how their art journey is going, and I wanted to share this. Bear in mind I am still a newbie myself, so I may not be qualified to give the best art advice, but I was JUST on that side of frustration and I feel like I’m pushing through to the light on the other side and I wanted to maybe help pull others through too!

I started watching Tam’s videos a couple months ago. I was never interested in drawing people, but Tam is very inspiring! After watching a bunch of youtube vids, I drew the one on the right and started painting it. I started off pleased I could draw a face at all, but overall I was very unhappy and frustrated that I couldn’t do it well. I had no concept or idea, I just started painting, and I didn’t do it while following Tam’s steps in real time.

On the left is my Happy Traveler from last week- this is only my 4th or 5th face and only about 2 months after I started, and while it’s still no masterpiece, what a difference from the first!

So my message here is: please, don’t give up. Don’t think that you’re “never going to be able to do it.” Don’t think you’re not good enough. And definitely DON’T BE AFRAID TO START AT ALL! <3 As has been said before – you wouldn’t expect to pick up a guitar and start playing well, or start on a new language and be fluent immediately! 🙂 Practice. If you are having trouble and are new to art, supplement Life Book with other learning: Read art books (the library has lots!) and soak in youtube videos about painting, drawing, color theory, and how to use your materials.

And something I learned: Pay attention to the lesson’s steps, do it along with the lesson in real time (pause when needed)- and pay attention to the details, and take it slow! In the beginning, I watched some vids, then sat down like “Ok I got this” and just started flailing around the pencil and paints and expected to recreate the teacher’s work. That didn’t work. smile emoticon In the beginning, do it step by step with the instructor. Pay attention to the shapes and proportions, and don’t skimp on those lovely little details that can make all the difference (highlights, doodles, etc) Don’t give up on those “middle stages” – these things can look unpretty before the details come in!

But, if you are trying and its just NOT working out on a piece, know that its OKAY if you just need to start on a fresh piece of paper, too! Treasure all of your art making – even the frustrating ones, because they can be the best lessons. You now know you enjoy doing x but noy y, or that one material doesn’t play well with that one. You didn’t know that before..but now you do! How cool is that?

While working on a piece, do what you can, and keep it fun – don’t stress out if it’s not exactly how you imagined. You know the great thing? There is always a “next time,” so don’t be afraid! The world won’t end if that one piece isn’t perfect! Every single “next time” you will go in better “armed”, with more knowledge about drawing, composition, painting, how your materials work, and you will INEVITABLY improve! If you keep at it, its impossible to NOT improve. The length of this journey can vary by person, but we are ALL moving forward. The only thing you need to do is show up and start.

Enjoy the feeling of learning, let that wash over you, revel in how you are spending time on something that you love, that you are learning a new skill that will bring you joy, and know that every brush and pencil stroke brings you one step further along on your journey. Remember: RELAX! (my word of 2016!) It’s okay to be where you are. Be proud of where you are! Art is a fascinating thing… You just created something out of nothing… That is AMAZING regardless of where we are on our path. Smile at that! Just keep playing, keep creating, and that flow will take you forward.


Posted to Life Book Facebook Group – Comment To Another Artist – April 18, 2016

As Roxanne says above, challenge is a good thing, and it is okay if you don’t feel you’ve shined in your first attempt at a challenge. That happens to everyone! It is important to push past what we are comfortable with. It is the only way we can grow in anything we set out to do.

That being said, I also think it is OKAY if you don’t find yourself enjoying every single type of art or process! Trying something new and discovering that it may not be for us also carries us further on our path towards where we actually want to be. Give new things a full chance and a try and push, several times to completion, and if you still feel like it is just not for you – move on to another form of creation that makes you happy. You can always revisit the style and technique at a later time if you desire.  🙂 Remember that you CAN do it! It may take some practice to get where you want to be, but we all CAN do it. If you don’t “prefer” to do it, though, that is okay too! 🙂

I want to say that I really like where the page is going. It has a dark and moody feel at the moment (which may actually reflect what you’ve been feeling, and it is cool that you are able to capture your mood!) I think it has great potential…and even if you are not thrilled, if you’d like you can continue to work on it from that perspective. I didn’t watch the full lesson yet, but im guessing a darker tone doesn’t quite fit the theme of the lesson, but I’ve found that most Life Book lessons just ignite a spark and then I let them take me wherever they need to take me, not worrying about sticking to the lesson strictly. And exploring the darker side of our emotions can produce some powerful art. So don’t give up – and don’t worry about “wasting paper” or materials – they are there to be used, they want to be used, and they will always make more. Every time you use them, you learn, so keep going!


I am in the middle of some art pieces which I am not thrilled with myself (hence this “inspirational” post instead of an artwork posting!) but I will forge on ahead!   And probably sign up for a few more classes.  Donna Downey has been having some workshop specials, you know…