A few months ago, my favorite local art store, AC Moore, closed its doors. What a sad day! So many employees affected. This store was my source for canvases. I would wait until they had a 50% to 70% off sale and then hold off until one day during the sale, "the" coupon would arrive in my inbox. It was a coupon for an extra 10% off of the sale price. It's probably as close as I'll ever get to the sensation of buying stocks on the trading floor! I would rush out and buy as many canvases as my SUV could carry. Those canvases would last me for about 6 months ~ until the next mega sale arrived.
I was ready to start a large garden scene today and went into the basement, aka supply room, to see what might be available. To my dismay, I didn't have a new, fresh canvas in the right size. What had been a seemingly endless supply was coming to an end.
I began to scan the room for an old painting, willing to give its life to become a new work of art. As I flipped through some older pieces, I came to a large landscape full of moody clouds, rolling hills and a rock wall. It was terrible. But 3 years ago, I was so proud of it, I hung it in a prominent place in my den. It seemed to be a significant moment when I was able to whitewash over that painting. I can remember thinking with a number of paintings, "what if I am never able to paint something this good again?". Tonight, I had confidence that the garden scene that would appear over the next few days would be far superior to the original painting.
Growing in art has been such a journey. There has been no hiding the insecurity. I can remember the first time I showed a friend an early painting ~ the first time a customer saw my work ~ the first time my work was displayed in public. This has felt like a long distance run, full of hurdles that had to be cleared. I have temporarily stopped at some of the hurdles, and crashed and burned at others. But each had to be overcome before progress could be made. I could have stopped at any number of points along the way and would never have enjoyed where I am today. And a year from now, two years from now, I am hoping to have significantly improved from this point.
Insecurity can have several roots, but I think they all lead to the taproot of pride. What will people think of me? There are times when it seems easier to quit and give up, rather than put yourself out there and risk looking foolish. But I believe the people who find the most satisfaction in life are those who are willing to go after whatever God assigns to them, regardless of the cost.
After 4 years of painting insecurity, it was quite freeing tonight to experience confidence.
Confident that I can paint over something with an even better painting. Confident that I will improve each year. Confident that if I'm willing to run my race and not let the hurdles or insecurities stop me, I will get to the finish line. I would hate to get to the end of my life and see a string of hurdles that were not overcome, where I quit and gave up. I know God is doing much more with the art than just the art! I am so curious as to where all of this is leading!