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New Beginnings

What is it about starting something new that makes it so exciting? I don’t know about you, but I love change. I love new beginnings. I think the unknown is far more appealing and exciting than what’s routine and predictable. This personality trait has afforded me some amazing life experiences, like going on exchange in Australia, moving to Ottawa to study engineering, as well as traveling without a set agenda.

On the other hand, this personality trait may also explain why I start paintings ALL THE TIME and then never want to continue/finish them. This is slightly embarrassing, but I think I have at least 10 paintings on the go right now, most of which are just a completed background and not much else. I started some of these at least 6 months ago.

So plan for the summer is to finish them all. I’m not going to get ahead of myself and say that I wont start new ones in the meantime because that would pretty much be self inflicted torture, but as long as those 10 from the last 6 months get completed, I’ll consider it a success.

The one I’m going to show you in this post was started probably in late November 2012 shortly after this painting below.

At the time, I had imagined I would create a whole collection of similar paintings with different instruments. After the acoustic guitar one above, I started this one below, which is an electric guitar. It’s spanned across three 16×20″ canvases (as opposed to three 12×16″ ones like the one above) so it’s significantly bigger. Bigger is better.

Background

After completing the background and adding the guitar, I added the music notes. I kept the lines straight and bold since that’s how I visually interpret the music of an electric guitar versus the soft wavy lines of the acoustic guitar. This makes sense in my head.

48x20" - Electric Guitar - Acrylic on Canvas

48×20″ – Electric Guitar – Acrylic on Canvas

And some zoomed in views of each panel:

Left Panel - 16x20"

Left Panel – 16×20″

Middle Panel - 16x20"

Middle Panel – 16×20″

Right Panel - 16x20"

Right Panel – 16×20″

To give you a better idea of the size, here it is over my bed, which I believe is a Queen size.

I even made my bed for you

I even made my bed for you

And lastly, here is a side view. The painting extends along the edges so it does not need a frame.

Rock On

Rock On

The next one in the collection is going to be of a saxophone. Hopefully I can complete it before this one sells (which will hopefully be soon) and can display them together since I think they’ll look neat as a collection.

Do you like change or do you prefer routine? You already know my answer to this, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Merry (super belated) Christmas/Happy Birthday

I started this painting back in December and it was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my brother and his girlfriend. A couple of days before Christmas, I knew it wasn’t going to happen so I abandoned it and just bought them something instead. After the holidays, I left to go back to Ottawa, and the canvas stayed behind in London.

Over 4 months later, I’m back in London, and this canvas was staring at me.

Background

Conveniently, it was my brother’s birthday on April 16th, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to finish it up. I had only completed the background back in December so started by drawing some circles. Notice how they’re all so nice and symmetric? Clearly not done freehand. Nope. I used a lampshade, the lid from some body butter, and the lid from a paint container. I’m quite resourceful, no?

More circles

More circles

I added some more circles, and then some streaks throughout the background, and before I knew it, I had a finished painting.

24x36" - Abstract Circles

24×36″ – Abstract Circles

Side View

Side View

If I made this look really easy, then that’s because it was. You should try it! Painting is not as complicated as most people imagine it to be. So next time you need a gift for someone who already has everything, try painting something for them. And if you do, and you feel like e-mailing me a picture, I’d be happy to post it on the blog. [agatasartcorner@hotmail.com]

Here it is hanging it their living room

Here it is hanging in their living room

Go. Paint. NOW. I’m off to do the same. Now that school is donzo, I’ve got plenty of time to dabble with a paint brush or two. I’ve got many many paintings on the go, and I’m really looking forward to blogging more regularly again and sharing my work with you.

And Happy 27th Birthday to my brother Maciek!!!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Timeraiser

Have you ever heard of the Timeraiser?

The Timeraiser is an event that takes place in multiple cities in Canada where throughout the evening, you meet with different volunteer agencies and match your skills to their needs. Once you have made your matches you are eligible to bid on artwork. The twist is rather than bid money, you bid volunteer hours.

That’s right, you bid on artwork by stating the number of hours you will donate to certain volunteer organizations. Like any silent auction, the highest bid wins the piece, and then you have 12 months to complete your pledge.

I attended this fabulous event a few years ago in London since my lovely friend Gillian volunteers with the organization that helped put it together. It was a great night. I made lot’s of great contacts with organizations I’d like to get involved with and bid on some gorgeous artwork (I didn’t win anything…womp womp…)

Now for my super exciting news…

One of my paintings was selected for the silent auction for this years event, taking place on Thursday May 2nd, 2013 in London, ON at The Arts Project, at 203 Dundas Street.

36x16" - Acrylic on 3 12x16" canvases

36×16″ – Acrylic on 3 12×16″ canvases

If you haven’t already, then get your tickets here, as the event usually sells out several weeks in advance.

You can also check out their website to preview all the artwork that will be available that night, as well as get some more information about the volunteer organizations that will be participating.

I hope to see you all there 🙂 Oh, and nothing would make me happier than to know that you bid your time on any of the fabulous works of art being auctioned off (especially mine;) )!

Have you bought your tickets yet? What are you waiting for?!

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Let’s Talk Weather

I’ve been putting off writing a post because I didn’t have anything even remotely insightful to say lately. I’m pretty sure the first rule of blog writing is don’t talk about the weather. Nobody cares about the weather! Well too bad, that’s all I got for ya today! And when the weather spikes from -40 to +10 degrees Celsius all within a week, I’d say that rule is asking to be broken. This painting I’m about to share with you seems appropriate for all the rain we’ve been getting, so sit back and enjoy.

If this painting looks familiar, it is because I painted it in parallel with this one so it essentially has the same colour scheme. It is another one of my comfort painting pieces.

I started with a background with a palette knife then drew some guidelines with chalk

I started with a background with a palette knife then drew some guidelines with chalk

Then I started to add some depth to it

Then I started to add some depth to it

Finally, I added a girl with an umbrella and some shadows, and called it a day.

Girl with the Red Umbrella - 12x16" Acrylic on Canvas

Girl with the Red Umbrella – 12×16″ Acrylic on Canvas

Side View

Side View

Zoomed in view of the girl with the red umbrella

Zoomed in view of the girl with the red umbrella

I had to swap my rain boots for my winter boots yesterday, although I think the temperatures are dipping down again today so maybe I’ll just skate to school…

So how did you like reading about the weather? Or do you just skim through and look at the pictures so it doesn’t really matter what I write about anyways? Either way, thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hope you’re staying dry!

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Comfort Painting

We’ve all heard of comfort food. You know, the food that is easily made, tastes delicious, makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Food that is good for the soul.

So what do I mean by comfort painting? On those days when I just want to sit back and relax and not worry about a thing, I usually engage in what I like to call comfort painting. That is, painting without thinking. There is no end product in mind, just paint going on a canvas step by step. Similar to comfort food, it is simple, enjoyable, and just makes me feel good.

At any given point, I usually have at least 2 or 3 paintings on the go. These are usually the non-comfort painting type. Their culinary equivalent would be that intricate recipe with 100 ingredients that takes 4 hours to prepare and leaves a huge mess in the kitchen. Enjoyable, but only on those days when you really feel like it. Lately, I’ve had no desire to continue tackling those, but I’ve engaged in quite a bit of comfort painting.

Step 1 - paint the background using a palette knife

Step 1 – paint the background using a palette knife

Step 2 - Add some of the foreground

Step 2 – Add some of the foreground

Step 3 - Continue building the foreground

Step 3 – Continue building the foreground

Finished Painting - Acrylic on three 12x16" canvases - Total size 36x16"

Finished Painting – Acrylic on three 12×16″ canvases – Total size 36×16″

Zoomed in Section

Zoomed in Section

Displayed in my room over my bed

Displayed in my room over my bed

I realize these paintings aren’t as interesting to look at as the non-comfort painting type, but while the thermometer is sitting at -39oC (that’s -38F for you American readers out there), I really can’t be bothered to do anything that requires thinking. So as the temperature rises, so will my painting creativity. Fingers crossed that happens soon. Ottawa, I’m over the cold. Let’s move on.

Hope you are all staying warm if you happen to be experiencing this lovely arctic-like weather.

What is your favorite comfort activity on such days? Or comfort food? As I’ve already mentioned, I enjoy comfort-painting, especially if it is paired with something warm and delicious from my crock-pot.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Oh Claude, you are so bright

Have you heard of Claude Monet? I sure hope so. If not, go Google him NOW. Trust me, he’s worth knowing. One of the greatest artists to ever exist. He’s not only brilliant in his painting, but also in his words.

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.” – Claude Monet

I love this quote. Mainly because I can totally relate to it. I often don’t understand my own art. I don’t know why I did it, or what I was thinking as I did it, because truthfully, I wasn’t thinking and I just did it. Sometimes people want to discuss my art with me, and they attribute much more symbolism and meaning to it than I ever did. It’s actually quite impressive what others can come up with.

The Original Painting, that I did a few months ago

BEFORE: The original painting, that I did a few months ago

 

On that note, here is a painting I re-did over the holidays. Why? I have no idea. It just didn’t look “right” to me the way it was so I “fixed” it.

The "fixed" painting.

AFTER: The “fixed” painting.

So no need to discuss this one, just love.

When you go to art galleries, do you feel the need to discuss the paintings there and try to guess what the artist was thinking when he/she painted the piece? I’m the first one to admit, that I rarely do this and I am terrible at it when I try. I prefer walking around quietly and simply enjoying the paintings that are either pleasing to the eye or cause me to stop and wonder what is going on. I usually feel like a fake artist because I have nothing insightful to say. This stems from the fact that my own paintings rarely have some deep hidden meaning. Although I will admit, there are ones that do, and I will share those with you on this blog, however, that painting above…I just wanted it to be pleasing to the eye. I didn’t think about it, I just painted it.

Also, which one do you prefer? The before, or the after?

Happy Wednesday everyone.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Childhood Flashback

Happy New Year friends! I hope you all welcomed the new year in style last night.

January 1st is a day when many of us set resolutions for the year ahead, and reflect back on the years past. I haven’t actually made any resolutions, but I did take a stroll down memory lane the other day.

Looking back into my childhood, there are 3 things that instantly jump out: (1) Arts and Crafts, (2) Full House, and (3) Super Mario World, in that order. In primary school, I pretty much lived in the Arts and Crafts corner. My favorite “toys” growing up were my coloring books and sets of colored pencils and markers. I never wanted to share these prized possessions. And I mean never!

That's me in the Arts and Crafts corner doing my thing in Grade 1

That’s me in the Arts and Crafts corner doing my thing in Grade 1

The only exception was with my fellow arts and crafts lover/next-door-neighbour/best friend, Evelina. We grew up together and pretty much spent all day every day doing some kind of arts and crafts. To this day, she is probably the only one who truly understands how much I enjoyed enjoy art.

My 5th Birthday Party. Those crowns that we're all wearing...we made those at the party lol

My 5th Birthday Party. Those crowns that we’re all wearing…we made those at the party at the arts and crafts table. Shocking.

I was always (secretly) jealous of her because I thought that she was much better at it than me so a few weeks ago when she told me that all she wants from me for Christmas is a painting, I was actually so humbled. In my eyes, it was like Picasso asking me to paint him something. I asked her for to list of her 5 favorite paintings of mine so that I knew more or less what she liked.

I first did a quick sketch on a 10×30″ canvas, and then used a palette knife to paint a background.

Can you guess what it's going to be?

Can you guess what it’s going to be?

Then I painted in the couple and the umbrella, added street lamps, and reflections on the ground as well as some shading onto the background. Low and behold, here is the finished product!

10x30" - Acrylic on Canvas

10×30″ – Acrylic on Canvas

And here’s a side view. As usual, I extended the painting along the edges so it doesn’t need a frame.

side

One of Evelina’s gifts to me literally made me laugh out loud. She got me a “glitter-by-number” arts and crafts set. Our childhood revolved around things like these, and she said that when she saw this at HomeSense, she immediately thought of me and had to get it. Not a word of a lie, I cracked it open as soon as I got home and probably enjoyed myself too much!

And yes, there is now glitter EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere!

And yes, there is now glitter EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere!

I know I said I didn’t make any resolutions for 2013, but after writing this, I’ve decided to make one: I’d like to embrace doing things I enjoy. Such as this. No shame. haha

Did you make a new years resolution? If so what?

What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Lighthouse

I came across a great quote today.

“People teach what they need to learn”

I couldn’t agree more. Whenever someone says to me that they can’t paint, I always convince them that yes, yes they can because you can’t be “wrong”. Everyone has a different style and if you paint what you see or feel, whatever that may be, it can’t be wrong. We all see and feel things differently and that’s what makes art so unique. In fact, that’s the whole beauty behind it.

I say this to people because I truly believe it, yet when it comes to my own painting, I often struggle with this. I have a hard time trusting myself that what I envision is “right” and will look good. Especially in the early stages of a painting, when it doesn’t look like much, I often what to give up and not finish it because I fear that it won’t be good enough when it’s done, and I’ll be disappointed.

I tell my friends at school all the time not to stress over exams or school and just do their best. What’s the worst that can happen? So you fail an exam, or a class, so what? You’ll take it again, and life will go on. Nobody cares, only you. So stop being so hard on yourself. I think I repeated this little monologue at least a dozen times in the last week, since we just had final exams, yet at any given time, I have at least 3 or 4 paintings on the go. Why? Because I’m scared to “ruin” them. I begin a painting when I have an idea, then the next day, I’m scared to make a brush stroke in fear of ruining what I started. So instead, I start another painting. And I keep doing this until (usually due to lack of space) I eventually convince myself to just go for it and paint.

I need to learn to take my own advice.

Advice one: you can’t be “wrong” when you paint, so just do it!

Advice two: Don’t fear failure. What’s the worst that can happen? When it comes to painting, this is so trivial. I mean realistically, you just paint over it! No big deal at all.

Oh so you came here because you want to see a painting and not read about my inner thoughts? Fine, here’s one for you.

I was inspired to paint this piece in the midst of studying for exams. I find studying for exams to be a stressful, dark, and lonely time – easily my least favorite time of the school year. I worked on this piece periodically throughout the exam period and it really helped me relax and forget about the typical exam stress. I started with the background using acrylic paint and a palette knife.

Background

Background

Next I started painting a lighthouse. I think I was subconsciously inspired to paint a lighthouse since it symbolises light and hope during darkness. Pretty fitting during exam time!

Lighthouse 1

Over the next week or so, I would dab at it whenever I needed a break from anything school related. I slowly added some details.

Lighthouse2

And eventually was left with this.

The final product. 18x24" Acrylic on Canvas

The final product. 18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas

 

Side view - the painting is extended along the edges.

Side view – the painting is extended along the edges.

 

Zoomed in view

Zoomed in view

 

Another zoomed in section

Another zoomed in section

 

To give you a better idea of the size, here it is above a small desk.

To give you a better idea of the size, here it is above a small desk.

 

Do you feel like you try to teach other people what you yourself need to learn? If so, what do you try to teach? I’m really curious if this is just me, or if this is common.

By the way, that quote is from the book “The Happiness Project” which I highly recommend.

 

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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London Ladies – Take 2

London Ladies? That sounds a little familiar now, doesn’t it?

You’re right, I have done this before. If you remember my post from Reading Week, I featured a painting that I called London Ladies. I didn’t talk much about it on the blog, but I painted that one for myself, of myself with my 3 best girl friends from London.

From left: Gill, me, Steph, Mouna

From left: Gill, me, Steph, Mouna

I grew up in London with these fabulous ladies (hence the appropriate title for the painting). I have known Gill and Mouna since the 4th grade, and met Steph in the 9th grade. Let me tell you a bit about the stars of this painting.

Gillian Heisz, CA, is the chartered accountant of the group. So we would expect her to be very organized, proper, and boring, right?. While she certainly is the first two, boring she is not! She is so funny without even trying (seriously, you are!), and also classy, confident, elegant and caring. Think Samantha Jones, but slightly less kinky…or at least, I assume… In the painting, she is wearing a simple blue dress, which in real life suits her perfectly. Simple, elegant, beautiful without trying too hard. That’s my Gill 🙂

Did I mention that she is gorgeous? Oh yeah, she is gorgeous, and single!

Did I mention that she is gorgeous? Boys, get in line!

Next in the painting, is me. I’m not going to dwell about myself here, but I’ll just mention the outfit choice. If you know me at all, you probably know that I tend to gravitate towards pink or purple clothes… That may be the understatement of the century. So appropriately, I’m wearing a purple dress in the painting.

I was shocked to find no pictures of me in purple...but pink is close enough and there are plenty of those!

I was shocked to find no pictures of me in purple…but pink is close enough and there are plenty of those!

The girl in the red dress would be my beautiful friend Stephanie Buono. We met on the first day of the 9th grade in our English class and I was immediately drawn to her laugh. If you’ve heard it, you know what I mean! It is ridiculous contagious and funny on it’s own. Not only funny, she is also super smart, caring, supportive, and appropriately studying to be a psychologist. She was my first ever roommate and we went through some rather interesting (think horrifying) experiences together in ‘Susie’ (what we named our apartment) which will probably haunt us both forever. I painted her in a cute red dress because she wears red often, and it looks great on her.

And she also has the best wardrobe ever! How cute is that dress?!

And she also has the best wardrobe ever! How cute is that dress?!

And last but certainly not least, we have the fabulous Mouna Hanna. The painting I’m going to feature in this post is actually painted for her, to put in her new apartment when she moves to Toronto. Mouna is the very successful lawyer of the bunch, and just got offered a new job in TO (congrats!). I could say so many great things about this girl, and have so many memories growing up with her that I actually don’t know where to start! I’ll summarize it by saying that she is just awesome 🙂 Seriously, the best! Funny, gorgeous, intelligent, loves wearing black, and has the most incredible shoe collection. Look closely in the painting, and you’ll notice the signature red soles that Mouna is lucky enough to own several pairs of.

You can't see the shoes, but they're probably Louboutin's

You can’t see the shoes, but they’re probably Louboutin’s

If you’re still reading, then you get a gold star, because this has been one long post, and I haven’t even made it to the painting I’m featuring yet! So here goes. This is London Ladies – Take 2, painted specially for Mouna.

As always, I started with a background, done with a palette knife on an 18×24″ gallery wrapped canvas.

background

If you’re wondering where I initially got the inspiration for the color scheme of this background, check out my shirt.

Colour Inspiration

Next, I added the abstract buildings of the background. If you look closely, you can see some chalk guidelines that I drew to the central focal point. I usually wipe off any that are left once I’m done.

Building up the background

Building up the background

Then came my favorite part: adding the stars of the show! I rearranged the order this time, because I wanted Mouna in the middle since the painting is for her.

From left, Steph, Gill, Mouna, and me

From left, Steph, Gill, Mouna, and me

And the finished painting:

London Ladies - Take 2

London Ladies – Take 2

This one is slightly bigger than the original one, and I put some more definition into the background buildings. Here is a side to side comparison.

Preference?

Preference?

To give you a better idea of the size, here is one with reference to my bed (which is either a queen or a double..)

I had to make my bed for this photoshoot...

I had to make my bed for this photoshoot…

Lastly, here is a side view. I used a 1.5″ deep canvas instead of the typical 0.75″ for more drama. I want this to be more of a statement piece than the original one. This also means it looks better unframed, since the painting is extended along the edges.

Side view

Well there she is! I hope you like it Mouna, and I can’t wait to see it in your new home.

Side note: Today is my fabulous mom’s birthday, so if you happen to be lucky enough to see her, please give her a giant hug and kiss from me. I won’t say how old she is, but let’s just say she is getting dangerously close to 50 (but doesn’t look a day over 20, right?!). Mom, Happy Birthday!!! You are the best and I love you beyond words. Can’t wait to see you in 15 days when I’m home!

Happy Birthday

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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All or Nothing

If you’ve never heard of Leonid Afremov then you need to do yourself a huge favor and google him asap! He is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils. He has a very unique style and it is unmistakable. Oh, and just amazingly beautiful. Seriously. Beyond words. Unlike most artists who have to die before they become famous, he is still alive! Bonus. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of his work and am constantly inspired by it. Here is an example, courtesy of Wikipeida.

Leonid Afremov and his painting of the Venice Canal

If you can’t beat them, join them, right?! Well that was my inspiration for this next painting. I figured he’s doing something right so I might as well learn from it. So I can’t take all the credit for this painting… a huge shout out goes to Mr. Afremov.

I started out with a very rough outline for the background. Basically just getting some colour on the canvas.

Slowly started building up the background, added trees and some more colour overall.

Next I added some lamp posts

Then some light!

Lastly, I added some more trees and a couple under an umbrella.

This painting looks great unframed because of the depth

18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas. Here it is relative to my bed, to give you an idea of the size.

Zoomed in on the couple under an umbrella

Zoomed in on some trees.

Zoomed in on the lamp posts

 

So I think this concludes my “rain” paintings, at least for now.

On a side note, I tend to have two extremes in life: all or nothing. I either love you completely, or you are totally indifferent to me. You get all of my time and attention, or none of it. I’ve noticed this coming out through my art as well. For starters, I went from painting almost never (maybe 2-3 paintings a year) to pretty much pumping out 2-3 a week! I just can’t get enough of it lately. It has been such a tremendous stress reliever and the amazing feedback from everyone has been very motivating as well. I woke up this morning at 5:30am (even though my alarm was set to 7:30am) and pretty much jumped out of bed and painted until 7:30am (which is when I completed the above painting).

I don’t know how long this enthusiasm will last, but for now I’m just going to go with it and paint. Since let’s face it, there are far worse things I could be spending a big chunk of my time doing.

Ironically, this same “all or nothing” approach to life has prevented me from painting in the past. The last couple years I’ve been super busy, taking 6-7 classes per semester (another example of my all-or-nothing approach to life) so even though I often felt like painting, I would always talk myself out of it justifying that a 1 hour break is not enough time to paint, and it’s not even worth starting if I can’t finish it. In retrospect, it probably would have been a great way to take my mind off school work.

So what changed now? With only 4 classes this semester (by default, since that’s all I have left 🙂 ) I found myself with more spare time than I am used to. I considered getting a part time job, but then had a light bulb moment and thought that I’ve always loved painting but never felt I had enough time to fully pursue it. What better time than now? And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

I seam to have gone off on a tangent here. What I originally wanted to get to is that life is about balance. I constantly have to remind myself that. So bringing that back to painting, how about only 1 more “rain” painting this year? Sounds good to me!

Anyone else struggle with finding balance?

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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