Thursday, March 26, 2015

A long time comin'...A story of perseverance and achievement

In September 2007, Watercolour was introduced to me in the form of medicine. Yes, medicine. It was like a tranquilizer, a way to take my mind off my failing health.  It was a God send really, and I thank God for putting it and Leslie Redhead in my path; and from the bottom of my heart, I thank Leslie Redhead, my friend and  mentor who has encouraged me and guided me thus far.

I had no idea that I was about to embark on a new career.  After being off work for a period of time, I knew I wanted a change, but it wasn't "Art".  I was no artist, in fact, I almost gave it all up, 8 months into my weekly 2 hour class with Leslie, I was frustrated, and felt there was nothing I could do to improve on my dabblings. 
"Sartatoga Beach"  painted 2008.

I had no idea what the change would be or how it would manifest itself.  And yet, painting was the only thing I could concentrate on.  It allowed me to pass the days, time fleeting, as I was lost in the challenge of creating and learning about this life saving medium.

I was assured by Leslie and others that hard work and commitment was the only thing that would put me on the path.  Deep down I knew that, and yet, was I ready?  I decided yes, and yet there were days I struggled to find it within me to paint.  Still to this day I have periods of agonizing pain, no energy; depression and anxiety overwhelm me at times; and there are weeks that I do not lift a brush.   So, I paint when I can, pacing myself, and hope that each day brings a brighter light to lift my spirits and my brush.

That is why, I feel so blessed to have my second set of initials.  The first, was with the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, in 2012, only 5 years after I started painting. The hurtles were high, yet I still wanted to present my work. I think I did this blindly; something told me it was right, and to go for it.  I did it, and I was so grateful for the achievement and even more so, for the courage to do it.

This second set with the Federation of Canadian Artists was more elusive.  I tried in 2012, 2013 and this last time, in 2014.  Looking back at my previous applications compared to this years'; This one was much stronger.  I realize that now.  As I look back, I wanted it, but, I really had not put the time in. 

Some people may have given up, and why I didn't is a mystery to me; I have allowed fear to hold me back so much in my past...except this time, I applied myself as best I could, and my mantras these days are "I can do it" and "Faith is stronger than fear".  So after my second attempt and failure, I spent the last year, putting my best foot forward, completing a body of work of which I am proud. 

I recall these words as well that my husband spouts all the time at home, words by the late Stephen Hawking, "failure is not the problem, not setting your goals high enough is the problem."

In late 2013, and 2014, I set out to get my works into shows I would never have considered previously.  I received three awards in that time, all honourable mentions, and I am proud of each one.  The caliber of works presented in each of the exhibits in which these honours were awarded, was outstanding.  I put these artists high on pedestals, as they are masterful in this medium.   Being granted an award among them; I was truly grateful and simply awestruck.

"Tea & Tears"; Honourable Mention; 2014 Sidney Fine Arts Show; Sidney, BC
Upon receiving my second big achievement, AFCA, from among a majority of the FCA's elite Board of Governors, I had written a few words of thanks on Facebook. This blog post was simply to tell my story of perseverance and achievement. 

1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautiful post, Sam! Congradulations on your achievements AND your perseverance. I think many of us have Leslie to thank for her wonderful friendship and mentorship. I wish you all the best in continuing with your pursuit of the passion and challenge of watercolor.