Tag Archives: painting

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.

I Put My Makeup On One Paint Brush At A Time (Just Like Everybody Else)

I was recently applying makeup in the hopes of making my skin look brighter, more youthful, and extra radiantly beautiful. After hurdling 35 years of age I’ll try just about anything to look less like a mom with bags under her eyes and more like a fresh faced 20 something. Of course, the bags under my eyes do match my blue jeans so they are the only thing somewhat stylish about me (unless it’s no longer fashionable to match your bags to your outfit).  I am also always in combat with cranky, scowling frown lines that seem to be conquering my forehead one battle at a time. I was hoping for dewy, translucent, glowing skin as I applied the makeup, but my skin seems to spawn wrinkles with the application of water and so the best I came up with was skin that looked slightly less blotchy and a tiny bit smoother than it usually does. As I was performing this not so daily ritual my daughter walked in and pointed up at my face. I thought she was going to call me pretty or gush about my hair, but instead she yelled, “Brush! Paint! Paint!” There were a few moments of confusion (on both sides) before I tried to explain to her that I wasn’t painting, but how could I say I wasn’t when the evidence was stacked against me? I mean, I was actually applying my makeup with what looked like and actually probably was or is a giant paintbrush applicator makeup brush thingy?

Before I could convince her that I wasn’t painting or having any fun at all, my daughter threw herself on the ground and cried because I refused to allow her to “paint” mommy’s face. I had to draw the line somewhere though. She had already painted the table, her highchair, the wall, and the dogs left whiskers. She had painted the inside of her ear, the inside of her nose, and all of the spaces between her fingers and toes.  She had painted on most of my copy and printer type paper which required me to print my grocery list on photograph paper. AND she had painted her teeth and most of her clothes. Wow. I think I may have just channeled Dr. Seuss a bit there, albeit badly.

This got me thinking about how concrete the world is to our Miss Tiny-Small. A brush is a brush is a brush, no matter how small (sorry it was impossible to resist). How do you explain that you don’t brush the dogs hair with your toothbrush or brush your teeth with the dogs brush? Also, a toothbrush is for teeth brushing and a paintbrush is for painting, except for when mommy uses the toothbrush to spray watercolor paint or to clean around the toilet, or to comb her unruly eyebrows or to polish her shoes (OK, I made that last one up, everyone can tell I don’t polish my shoes just by looking at them). What a confusing world we live in for a toddler. So many brushes and so many uses. Or as my daughter sees it, so many brushes so little time to paint mom’s jewelry, frying pans, furniture, clothes and any thing else she can get her blue, red, and green paint splattered hands on.

What a confusing world we live in for a mother who hopes to look like Drew Barrymore with the flick of a magical makeup applicator wand. Well, maybe it’s not so much confusing as it is disappointing. After wrestling the mascara and eyeliner from my toddler’s tiny, but remarkably strong grasp I remembered that there was a study recently published that said women who wear makeup are perceived as smarter than those who do not. I may never look like Drew Barrymore, but at least I can do something about my IQ. The study didn’t specify that the makeup had to be applied correctly to trick the onlooker’s eye. At least I hope it didn’t, because in all seriousness, I need all of the help I can get.

Painting As Passion

Painting as passion
Painting, after some success, can quickly become an obsession. It sure has for me!
Painting as passion: Tea House in San Francisco
I recently dove back into using watercolors after about a twelve month love affair with acrylics and collage and now I-just-can’t-stop. I’ve been painting flowers and more flowers. I have created an inside garden complete with flowers that probably wouldn’t even grow in my actual, outside garden. This can be dangerous. The laundry, dishes, and floors have completely been neglected. My email goes unanswered. My family can survive on frozen pizzas and other convenience foods for only so long! I have been bitten by the painting bug and have come down with a severe case of painting fever.
watercolor flowers
This seems to happen to creative people. We can go days, months, and even years without succumbing to our creative work, but when the passion and obsession strikes we can become very prolific and completely consumed by our creative work. This can be very difficult to reconcile with the demands of a small child and the obligations and responsibilities that come with being a Stay-At-Home-Mom. I cannot hide in my studio or concentrate on what I am doing for long periods of time like I did before my daughter was born. At this stage, she is usually redecorating my studio while I paint or, trying to stick a paintbrush in the dog’s mouth.
watercolor blanket flower
Watercolors are terrific for this mode of painting because if the paints dry out while I am wrestling my most-loved paintbrush from the dog’s mouth, I can just add water and be back in business in no time. I often paint while my daughter is napping or has gone to bed for the night. I spend quite a bit of my day lost in thought about what to paint next, which color to use, or if my painting would benefit from some pen and ink details.  I can only hope my daughter doesn’t notice my distracted interactions or, even better, I hope she will grow up and find something that she can be just as passionate about.