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I paint. Or, I used to….whichever way you look at it. Did I ever tell you that I like to paint? I thought I was “good” at it, until I saw some of my past artwork from 9th and 10th grade. I thought, “I thought this stuff was good at one time?” My Mom brought over my Senior year Art Portfolio last week. When I looked through it, I shrugged and said,”Okay, at least I had improved a lot over my high school years.” But, seriously, since high school (14 years ago…woah!) I have painted. very. little. The last thing I painted was THESE, um…about 4 years ago.
For the last two years, since Steven and I have lived in Ohio again, we’ve had the priviledge of seeing my brother-in-law, Pete, have his art displayed at a local art gallery. He’s even won awards each year! He is REALLY GOOD!!! And I mean AWESOME! Check out his website HERE!
Each year that I’ve gone to the award show, I’ve been excited to be there, and have been genuinely excited and proud of Pete. But, I have been somewhat disappointed in myself for not having submitted anything myself. Well, for not even painting anymore. For not using my God-given abilities (I can sew true, but that’s more a learned skill). This year I “put my foot down” and decided….no more regrets, Joy. Just try this time.
And so, 5 days before the art submissions were due, I got out my watercolors again, for the first time in a very long time.
I tell you that every bit of fear hit me like a ton of bricks. “You can’t do this. You haven’t painted in forever. You probably won’t even get in.” You name it. I felt it.
But I know what God says. I know what He’s put in me…even if it has been buried for awhile. I don’t want to regret NOT trying AGAIN this year. And I proceeded on…
I knew exactly what I wanted to paint. This photo I took last year when visiting an ice cream shop in Knoxville, TN was just the one (No, I wasn’t there just for the ice cream  : ) ):
I didn’t want it to look that “realistic,” but I wasn’t going for “abstract” either.
And this is how it turned out. For getting my feet wet again, it’s “okay”. But, looking back at what I used to produce and awards I used to get, I have more potential somewhere inside. It’s not my best of course, beacause I haven’t taken the time to practice. 
Thursday morning, before I went to turn the piece in, I added some hatch marks with ink. I liked it a little better.  But, my point was to just practice and have something to turn in. And I did just that.
And on Friday, I got the email from the Art Center that my piece was not chosen to enter the competition this year. Most people would be greatly diappointed by this, but I was completely at peace. I didn’t expect to get in this year. But if you ask me, I did win. I painted again. I submitted a work of art. I am already doing more art this year than I have in the last 14 years combined! It’s incredibly difficult to show others your personal work, for fear of criticism, judgement, or plain rejection. That fear came, and though it took courage to even post this, I want to tell you its a stepping stone for me….in the right direction!
And this is the gallery where all the paintings have been chosen, and are being hung right now in preparation for the award cermemony next week. I’m VERY excited to go! Pete’s 3 paintings are down in front (2 on the floor and the abstract one on the wall in front). His are just incredible! And, Lord willing, someday (hopefully in the near future) I may paint as good as not just Pete, but as just Joy.
Here’s to a coming year of great art. And maybe I’ll just hang my painting in my house as a reminder to keep practicing so I can be more ready for next year!


Joy2Sew is a sewing business specializing in bridal alterations, custom costume creations, sewing lessons, and pdf patterns for children's costumes.

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