We Called Him Tortoise because He Taught Us.

I don’t get to teach as much as I did when I was a college professor.  Back then, my biggest problem was finding the student who really wanted to learn instead of the ones who only cared about a grade in the last few weeks. I taught mostly to earn a living and didn’t have as much to give. Now, I’m feeling an obligation to teach and pass it on, but I have to carve out that time with all the other things I have to do.  It’s a balance I want to achieve.

I used to wonder why my college professor took such an interest in me.  I wasn’t that good. I was the worst in my sophomore drawing class. I was like a stray dog. My light and dark values were horrible. I think what he saw in me was my love for wanting to be better. He saw what I could be instead of what I was.

When I’m outside painting, people come up, commenting how they wish they could paint but don’t have any talent. Saying they can’t even draw a stickman. The thinking is you must be born with natural talent as a prerequisite to paint. It’s a common belief used as an excuse for why they don’t paint.

I truly believe that having a passion for whatever you do is the most important quality to have, with one caveat — you must cultivate it.  When you truly love something, you’ll do it. But if you don’t, you may have to live with regret, and maybe you didn’t really love it after all. You don’t just have to love it; you have to love it enough to sacrifice and work.

I am not saying everyone should be a painter, but everyone should find that obsession that is who they are and grow it. It’s trial and error.  It is persistence and listening to yourself.  It’s passion. And a type of love.

I heard someone ask for some help finding a hobby. They wanted to find what interested them.  You can’t farm that out. Some things you must do yourself.

So, know yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself enough to become the best you possible. And if that means painting, then do it. 

I heard the unforgivable sin is not a committed sin that can’t be forgiven. It’s the good thing you knew you should do but did not. God forgives. That is his business. But forgiving ourselves is never as easy. It stays with us.

Acknowledge the importance of your own intuition. It gives rewards that can’t be foreseen.  I’m not here to tell you to quit your job and go paint. I am here to tell you that if you have it in you to paint, you need to be moving in that direction.  It takes time and sacrifice. There is no easy or one way to do it.  Everyone’s way is different. A studio in a garage. A painting kit you can take with you on weekends. A sketch pad on a lunch break.

It’s not that God gives you a talent for painting. What God gives is the love for painting. God is love.  And when God gives you love, it’s your responsibility to grow and share it.

I had the worst light and dark values as a sophomore. I was determined to make my weakness my strength. Today it is my strength.

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