Persistence

Ten days ago I publicly shared my life’s journey to find my artist self. Three of us each had about 15 minutes to respond to the title: Art – Seducer, Healer, Ecstatic Transformer.

Here’s a link to the article which appeared in the Bainbridge Review, written by journalist extraordinaire, Connie Mears.

My lust for creating seduced me away from the career for which I’d trained, denying – and then forgetting – much of my true nature in the process.

Persistence.

It took me more years to remember my real passion for painting images of reality as I know it.

Persistence.

Developing skills required more time.

Persistence.

Believing in my art enough, to keep at it and share it in public, all that took persistence and a modicum of courage.

What is it in us that gives us the stamina, the will, to pursue a dream?

Persistence.

I don’t think I even mentioned it in my talk.

Where does it come from? It’s invisible, intangible yet real as real can be. Without it I wouldn’t be me.

Which brings me to my happy news of last Thursday. I finished a painting I started in 2006 back in Montana. It’s big for a watercolor – nearly 3 feet by 4 – and depicts the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon from the perspective of women rafting. I reached a stage where I faltered, not sure how to proceed and then life intervened anyway and I rolled the painting up and tied it with a green ribbon.

I unrolled it, maybe a year later and discovered that I had a problem. The paddlers in the raft were stuck under their masking fluid and I couldn’t rub it off.

But, persisting, as is my general nature, I got inventive and painted them over with white absorbent ground and painted them again.

 

They looked great but I was still mystified by the background cliffs. I didn’t know how to finish what I had started.

As before, I rolled it up and tied it gently but securely with a bow of green ribbon. Then more gears shifted and I moved to thePacific Northwest, where the beribboned roll of heavy duty watercolor paper found its way into a closet.

Zoom to NOW. I’m scheduled to be the featured wall artist in collaboration with Annette Fourbears of basketweaving and peyote beading fabulousness. See a tiny sampling of her work here. She asked me if I was going to finish that unfinished grand canyon painting – a reproduction of which I had flashed before her eyes when I was juried into the gallery. She said she’d never forgotten it and wanted to see it finished! At first I said, “ No.”…all kinds of excuses…too big, not enough time, too hard to frame, not on claybord which is my current love…She just gazed at me with her big eyes and a question mark floating above her head.

So, the painting, “Around the Bend,” is finished now and being framed this week. The problematic cliffs are filled with symbols and creatures, some of which appeared by the grace of watercolor itself. Others were pointed out by the magic of a friend’s pair of eyes who could see things I hadn’t noticed.

You can see the real thing at Front Street Gallery in Poulsbo, WA, from August 9th to September 6th. The exhibit is titled: Dreamweaving – The Visionary Intertwining of Art, Symbol, Story and Nature. Our Opening Celebration is 5 – 8 pm on Saturday August 13th.

I’m ever so grateful to persistence!

And the encouragement of friends!!

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About Deborah

Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. is an artist, mentor, and eco-psychologist, mother of four and grandmother of eight.
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6 Responses to Persistence

  1. Julia Miller says:

    Stunning. Absolutely. Powerful piece!

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      Thank you, Julia. That means a lot coming from you whose brilliance of color and choices of subject matter blow me away!
      I will miss you when you’re on sabbatical.

      Like

  2. I knew from the moment I saw you that you were one persistent energetic lady! I’m hoping you seduce lots of folks this month at the gallery….Jessica McGreal

    Like

  3. Selena says:

    Absolutely phenomenal! Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

    • Deborah says:

      Thank you Selena. Delighted to meet you here and I apologize for the delay in responding to your comment. I appreciate it a lot and would like to learn more about your and your work.

      Like

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