Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Grace Notes – a Discovery of Art

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an artist. Some things I love and have wanted seemed to come as easily and naturally as breathing. For instance writing. I cannot remember a time when words were not my friends; when language and syntax did not pulse and leap for me like throb of the blood in my veins. It has never been a problem for me to say, “I am a writer.” I also love to cook, and find relaxation and joy in the kitchen. I love music too, and at least at one point in my life new how to bring a keyboard and a cello to life.

But art.

The second feather - I'm putting this one on note cards
It has taken me a long time to even tentatively utter the words, “I am an artist.” Inside my head, I can still see my hyper-critical shadow self shaking her head sarcastically; rolling her eyes; saying, “whatever.” I adore color. I have an immense collection of pens, pencils, stickers, paint, paper, and other art supplies. I have delved into art journaling and fallen in love. I create images I’m proud of in Photoshop – moving light and shadow and font to make statements and tell a story. I consider my writing an art – same for my cooking.

But I still have trouble saying, “I am an artist.”

I think what I mean is, "I can’t paint anything that looks like it exists in this universe."

Because somehow in my mind – for me – art equals painting.

The first feather, a work in progress, and new art supplies
Which makes no sense at all, because art is so much more than that. I even led a small group earlier this Spring where one of the goals of my heart (along with my two fearless leader friends), was to teach other women that you didn’t have to be Michelangelo to be an artist.

So imagine my surprise over the last twenty-four hours, when I’ve discovered something I can paint. And draw. And not too badly.

An online friend had been sharing images of her feathers. Beautiful, colorful creations. They are amazing. I was so tempted. I wrote her on Facebook and asked about the hows and whys, and she encouraged me so kindly. So I tried.

Toucan feathers - at a friend's suggestion
Focusing on not focusing (and thus over thinking – which I do so very well), I tumbled my oversize art journal down from the top shelf and grabbed a pencil. And drew a feather. I thought it wasn’t half bad and showed it to my family who gave me huge kudos (because they’re amazing) and cheered me on. I started surfing on Pinterest – looking for other feather ideas and found another to try. I did. And it actually looked like a feather. The next morning, I took on another challenge and tried my hand at a fish – albeit a feathery looking fish, but a fish nonetheless. And it looked like a fish.

My feathery fish - still a work in progress - but it looks like a fish!
I’m so excited.

This newfound art is a grace note for me because it is a dream fulfilled and an experiment in wonder altogether. It is an adventure in giving grace, of sorts, because despite the cheers and encouragement from my friends and family, there’s part of me – that cranky shadow self – that still sees nothing but flaws and errors in the art.

But I’m choosing to ignore her completely for now, and simply revel in the beauty and imagination that flows out from my brush, and give thanks that I have a small bit of the Creator’s gift at my fingertips. I want to honor that gift.

Tuesday Grace Notes are an opportunity for me to share a small bit of harmony amidst the other things I write about. Truly, they are meant to be shorter than my usual pieces (laugh with me here), and just a little something to add a touch of beauty to my life and yours. One week it might be a
wonderful book I’ve read and can’t put down. Maybe it will be one of the movies I love (or its soundtrack). You might find a favourite recipe here. Or the new soap I’ve just discovered. You’ll find that many of them are inspired by my mother and the things she taught me about living a gentle, elegant life. I hope you’ll join me as more things are shared.

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!


  1. I am so thankful that you decided not to listen to that cranky shallow voice inside you (the one I think we all have). Because your bravery had been such an encouragement to me that I too got my art journal back out with the few pencils and paints I have to try again. Thank you.

  2. I like that the toucan feathers made an appearance. :) Now, from someone who *has* considered herself an artist all her life, instead of the voice saying, "You can't," there is the voice saying, "It's not perfect yet." Training the skill into your hands also involves training the voice into giving objective, helpful critiques and knowing when to tell it, "I know it's not perfect, and it never will be, but this is as far as my skill can take me at this time," and then putting down the brush or pencil. A little insider tip. ;)

  3. A note from me to your cranky shadow self: These are beautiful.

  4. You, my friend, are an artist. Don't ever listen to that lie. I know what it's like to shy away from that word, "artist", believe me. You are such an inspiration.

  5. Girrrrllll... you can PAINT!!!! (and draw... and cook... and do all KINDS of Artsy things!) I love all of these and I am so thrilled that you were able to collaborate with Katie! How fun! (Of course... I lean to the feathers the most... because, #PutABirdOnIt!)


Thank you for the kindess of your comment. I pray your patience with the word verification. I've had such troubles with spammers lately. Thank you for grace. I look forward to reading all the comments and responding. I appreciate you!