10 Things Painting Has Taught Me About Relationships

10 Things Painting Has Taught Me About Relationships.

Not to just repeat the title, but I am going to repeat the title: 10 things painting has taught me about relationships. I mean, that is what this post is about. It’s a list. A long list (forgive me), mostly about relationships, but also a little about painting. Maybe I should just zip it and start the list.

10 Things painting has taught me about relationships
Cone Flower watercolor painting by Lillian Connelly

1. Not everyone is going to like you or your painting. It’s true. You are fabulous, but there will be a few people who just can’t stand you. Some will tell you to your face. Some will avoid you. Some will talk behind your paintings back. Some people will just blurt out, “I don’t like you. I don’t like your paintings.” Some will just walk right by. Some will tell other people, “Who does she think she is painting THAT?” The good news shows up in number two:

2. There will always be people who think you are super cool, amazing, smart, funny and nice. They may also think the same thing about your painting. They will say, “Look at that beautiful use of color.” They also might say, “That girl is going places and I hope she remembers me when she is famous.” They will want to be your friend and hang your painting on their wall. These are the loves of your life. Hug them like you mean it. Good friends are sometimes hard to find and they help you combat that negative energy you feel from all of those number one type people (see above) out there.

Paper Dolls mixed media painting
My mom didn’t like this one at first. Then it was “OK” and now she doesn’t want me to sell it. Weird, right?

3. Some people won’t like you at first, but you will start to win them over with your charm and wit and free baked goods. They will get past the initial shock and awe that is you and realize you aren’t half bad. You might even become friends…possibly best friends. Same thing with painting. Someone might see your painting one day and exclaim, “What the heck is that crap?” A few days later you will catch them looking at it and hear them say, “I think I am starting to like this one.” Then, a few days later they will buy it and hang it on their wall. Seriously, this stuff happens ALL THE TIME.

4. People get jealous. Sometimes they get jealous of your painting. They will either think you spend too much time with other people (or with your painting). They might think your other friend (or painting) is cooler than they are. They might be jealous of your ability to attract the beautiful people to you (or to your painting). They might get jealous of your talents, ability, time…this list could go on forever. My husband gets jealous of my Twitter followers because he thinks I would rather talk to them about politics (he’s right because they can’t break my TV). I know that has absolutely nothing to do with painting, but it has everything to do with jealousy. My point is, people get jealous. I get jealous. Jealousy makes the world go ’round. I should totally turn that into a love song.  I mean, sometimes jealousy gets you motivated, but also it can put a lid on your creative process. So, just like in life and relationships, don’t let the jealousy of other people stop you from doing great things. Also, don’t let your own jealousy stop you from doing great things. Just do great things and be happy that you are doing them.

Painting Tiny-Small
I took this photo of myself. Note the forced, hurry up camera timer, smile.

4. If you want to have strong, solid relationships with people you have to spend time with them, care about them, and devote some energy towards their well-being. Same thing with painting. Showing up is half the battle. Practice makes perfect. All of the practice I’ve been doing with my painting has paid off. All of that reading to my daughter, feeding her good foods, and pretending to be both a ballerina and a monkey starring in an off-off broadway version of Annie has paid of too. My daughter and I get along pretty well. Don’t be afraid to dive in and give something your all. It works.

bad horse painting
I should never be allowed to paint horses.

5. Sometimes you have to know when to walk away from a painting…same with people. Some people just weren’t meant to be and some paintings just weren’t meant to be either. That’s Ok though because look at number 6:

bad horse painting 1
Horses are not my thing, but maybe they will be someday…

6. There will always be new ideas and new paintings and new people coming into your life. You may have some dark, lonely periods. You may lose your creative spirit or a few friends, but they will be replaced with a new vision and a new support system. Change is one thing you can count on. You will not be like you are right now forever (good or bad).

7. Sometimes you won’t be able to paint something and then two years later you can paint it like a boss. Same thing with friends and loved ones. Sometimes they go out of your life for a while and pop back in when you least expect it. There are always surprises in art and in relationships.

8. Sometimes you just don’t have the right tools to work with. You want to paint, but the paint is sticky and the canvas is torn. It’s a good idea to get the best tools you can. Same thing with people. You can surround yourself with positive, supportive people who believe in you or you can surround yourself with people who don’t. You will go much further and be much happier if you have the right tools and the right people in your life.

collage painting with acrylic paint by Lillian Connelly: Mixed Media

9. Painting is messy. Paint gets on your clothes. Things go right and wrong at the same time. Same thing with relationships. They aren’t always easy. Things go up and things go down and sometimes things go round and round. It’s OK to get messy. Develop strong problem solving skills and you’ll go far both in art and in relationships.

watercolor painting

10. If you are struggling with your painting ask for help. Someone out there knows more about what you are doing than you do. Don’t be afraid to get an education on the subject. Same thing for relationships. Learn how to communicate or get some help from a professional when you are struggling. Don’t spend years doing things that don’t seem to be working for you. Ask for help.

That is my long-winded wisdom for the day. Stop laughing at the horses! You’ll make them cry and ruin their watercolor.


Like this post? Check out: So, I Declared Yesterday Family Art Day or Sometimes You Have To Break The Rules.

24 thoughts on “10 Things Painting Has Taught Me About Relationships”

  1. EEK! The pressure! OK – sorry, i cannot manage either witty or charming, but will sincere do?
    I LOVE this article – and the paintings are wonderful! Such energy and expression – I love them! The coneflowers are fabulous, but I think the paper dolls are really cool too. I do wonder what has so surprised the first horse, but I am not laughing at them. Actually, I find them and your attitude about painting them – not great now, but you keep with them and realize one day you may be great at horse – I think this is pretty inspiring.
    I cannot paint. No – there is no point discussing that. But I do have other talents I am perhaps not as confident as I should be in excersing. I think you have inspired me to give them more time and attention and accept the short comings for the progress they bring. And I love the article – great advice, and important lessons.
    Thank you for a terrific start(ish) to my day! 🙂

    1. Kat,
      You are very charming and without even trying!Thank you for the encouraging words about my horse painting efforts. I have one horse painting that turned out well. I will not give up, but I will certainly take breaks…and laugh. I can’t help but laugh at that surprised horse.

      Thank you for reading and writing such a nice comment. Comments like yours make my day!

  2. I am so enjoying your blog! I am sneeking time in among my work – I love the chickens and your rule for toddlers naming pets! Come to think of it, I think my first kitten had 37 different names until my Mom put her foot down. 🙂 I have subscribed because I will definitely enjoy reading your work on a regular basis. Thanks for the great articles!

    1. You are the best, Kat! Thank you. You keep making my day happier…also I have a purse addiction and your website is making me crazy with desire…must have more purses! OMG they are so cute.

  3. Wow! Pumped this out to Twitter, first, how much I like this post. Hit things right on the head. Things we all know, in theory, but forget easily and quickly – particularly when we’re in the heat of a relationship, er, painting… Thanks for this!

    1. Thank you. I have to remind myself of these things fairly often. How quickly we forget the big picture stuff when we are in the middle of the daily grind.

  4. You need to seriously put the bullet points onto like a poster or something…or I need to print it out for days that I feel really down and out…just letting things bug me…wow I think that’s why i’ve sought out blogging…to find out more about myself and find some strength and support in other women because not that those in rl aren’t great but they just don’t get me…and wow…i love this post…you don’t know how much…thank you for writing it! xoxoxo and sharing your thoughts/paintings xoxo

    1. Thank you for saying all that. It brought a tear to my eye. It’s nice to know when you touch people with what you write…at least once in a while! I totally agree about needing support from other women. That’s the reason I started reading and writing blogs too. It’s hard to find the people you connect with in a way that is deeper than just working together or being related…people who get you. We all need that. I feel really lucky to be a part of this community. It’s pretty special.

  5. i <3'd this. i really did. and yeah. that first horse… the second one wasn't so bad, but that first one… it looks like i did it. i like the color in the second one — i love it when people do that cool layering with the watercolors. anyway, you are great. i am glad i know you. 🙂 xo

    1. I keep that horse for two reasons: 1. It makes me laugh every single time I see it. 2. It reminds me of how far I have come!

      I am glad I know you too!

  6. This is both artistically and intellectually beautiful! Except for the horses. Kidding 😉
    But, people can be harsh and cruel. Try not to let the negative commentary about your passion get to you. And, when you figure out how to do that, pass it along to me. I specialize in cursing like you do in acrylics….
    XO Tracy

    1. The horse is bad…you won’t hurt my feelings! I so get what you are saying. It’s so much easier to tell other people not to let things bother them than it is to take that advice yourself. I’m always like be positive, be strong, keep working and then I am over here struggling with these same things. We’re all works in progress. We’re going places though…all of us!

  7. This is such a great post! It’s so hard not to focus on others negative comments and opinions. This is good advice on those days that it’s hard to focus on the good around us! I’m terrible at letting the opinions of others go straight to my heart. I think I’ll be bookmarking this post for future reference!!
    BTW..your horses may not be your best work but they are still really good. I love your art and I think your very talented. I really do hope you remember me when you become famous!! lol. I have my paintings hanging in my house and show them off to everyone who comes over. I’ve always admired you. You are beautiful, talented, funny, and my best friend.

    1. I will never forget you…never! How could I? I have trouble with letting the opinions of others go straight to my heart too.

  8. I finally had time to read this post!! I loved it. Thank for sharing your wise words! You are an encouragement to me. I am so stuck on the Paper Dolls piece. Maybe you could sell prints of it? I also love the portrait of Tiny-Small.

    1. I am actually planning to make some prints of a few of my pieces to see what happens. I just need to go see a printer about it. I guess I need to stop talking about it and get to doing it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.