More than Starting a NEW Painting

Embarking on my painting journey again feels like rekindling a long-lost romance—with the vibrant hues and the scent of creativity in the air. It’s not just about dipping my brush into colors; it’s a profound revival of my artistic haven, leaving guilt, fear, and self-doubt in the rearview mirror.

This endeavor is a celebration of what truly brings me joy, second only to cherished moments with Hubby, family, and friends. I throw that in just to avoid any unintentional party exclusions; after all, who’d want to miss out on cake, ice cream, beer, and the warmth of a bonfire?

The start of the Black-eyed Susans oil painting, 6×6 in.

Comparing painting to riding a bike falls short—

it’s more like awakening a dormant muscle. A muscle that has languished on the sidelines, growing weak and flabby, its memory fading into the abyss. Well, not a literal memory, but they say athletes build muscle memory, so there’s some truth to the analogy.

Starting afresh with painting feels a lot like waking up a sleepy muscle—it hurts, it protests, but eventually, it strengthens. Not at the “show off your muscles in a bikini” stage, but more like the “ouch, it hurts to sit down” phase. Today was about slapping paint onto the canvas, knowing it won’t be a masterpiece; in fact, it might downright suck.

There will be moments when I’ll want to erase the evidence, berating myself with thoughts like, “Give it up, you’re a joke” (thanks, inner critic). But I’m pushing through, anticipating the hurdles, and keeping my eyes on the artistic horizon.

I understand it’ll be a while before I effortlessly slip into the elusive “zone”—that blissful space where only my subject and brush exist. Until then, I’m reminding myself that the muses will visit again. I eagerly await their return, but I know they won’t linger unless they find me diligently at the easel, brush in hand, ready to dance with inspiration.


Read the follow-up to starting this painting in the post, That Went Better than I Thought

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  1. Christopher Little says:

    Nancy, do I ever relate to this! I haven’t had the strength of will enough to even visit my studio recently, much less to actually be creative. I think what I do is quite similar to your painting in that it really IS a muscle that needs constant attention. Thanks, your article is just the kick in the pants I need and I appreciate you. Time for me to exercise that muscle. (BTW, the black eyed Susans painting definitely doesn’t suck. I really dig it.)

    1. Nancy Murty says:

      Thanks for this Chris! It means so much coming from you. When you feel ready, go in and play for a little bit. :)

  2. This is so nice, Nancy. I think many, many artists can identify right now. I have a feeling she’s quiet now that she’s seen you haven’t lost your touch! All the best.

    1. Nancy Murty says:

      Thanks Mickey. :) She’s much quieter but never is too far away.

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