Getting Out of My Own Way


I read something a long time ago (I’m sorry I can’t remember the book or its author to give due credit) that I have carried with me ever since. It was the idea that we all have a tendency to get in our own way. This, of course, can be true throughout all aspects of our lives and I certainly know something about that. But I have put special emphasis on being aware of it in my painting life. I’ve always felt my very best work was made when I was able to get out of my own way (it’s the perfect way of saying it)–whether by getting out of my head in order to connect with that divine force that wants to create (I believe) with all of us, or balancing a commitment to the easel with the equally important need of time and space (see previous post Giving Art Room to Breathe).


Recently, Kim (see previous post A Very Mini Artist’s Colony in New Mexico) and I started tinkering in the yard, using the lovely rock that dots my land to define a kind of sitting area on the edge of the land grant, under and among some old junipers.


In the past I simply wouldn’t have allowed myself to do such a thing because it would mean cutting into my painting time and, thus, I’d think it was a waste of valuable time. But you know what? I’m painting MORE since I’ve been out there moving rocks around in the yard. It seems to energize me and feed my painting in fact. And it’s absolutely influencing my art in important ways. Can you see it here?



A Break in the Clouds

And here…



Sunset on the Llano

… and here…




… and here…




… and yet again here…




I think the new paintings are working because, in part, I am getting out of my own way, meaning I’m following my impulses, without judgement. I’m going wherever they take me.

Llano Vista

In fact I think this new outdoor project is infusing my work with a new-found sense of joy. As I move “mountains” around on my land, I am grounded and finding a much-needed sense of relaxed trust in the process of life. And this new calm helps me to follow my impulses, no matter how wild. This piece titled, Red Willow, was born of utter abandon.

Red Willow

Every day this quiet place we’re creating becomes more beautiful …




… and every day I paint…


… finding belief and confidence there.


And then I take these paintings to their gallery home, Hand Artes Gallery, here in Truchas, where Bill and Margaret Franke always welcome them with open arms and a reverence that soothes my artist soul…








But what is my larger message here?

I think it is this: Follow your impulses as much as you are able because they are indicating some truth for you, some path, some next step. Be still sometimes within your busy lives so you can hear them. And always, always follow, even when it’s hard, even in your corporate jobs, even with a house full of small children. Somehow, someway, listen to what is speaking to you from deep within and do that thing your soul asks of you, whether it’s making rock gardens and paintings, raising children, or following a corporate path… our dreams and desires are as individual as we are and it is up to each one of us to discover and honor, as best we can, ours.

And then get out of our own way.

Love to you all,


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