Painting sucks!

Posted on January 26, 2009


Or at least that’s what I used to think. My personal pain and journey as a painter has dramatically affected my views on creative leadership (lessons at the very bottom).
The Dark Ages
I have always been an illustrator growing up. I loved the medium of pen/pencil and paper. However, painting was another story. I just could not control the medium in a way to communicate what I wanted to express. It was too ambiguous and slow- so I just stuck with illustrations. I struggled so much with painting that in college my teachers tried to fail me in my classes! I hated painting. So I put away my brushes and paints for many years. While I still enjoyed painting models and an occasional kid mural, I ceased ‘fine art’ painting for over 15 years! But I always knew there was something there. It was like a constant paper cut on my finger. It just gnawed at me from time to time.
The Renaissance
I came to a point in my artist journey and in my spiritual life when I decided it was time to express myself in a new way. Frustrated with former ways to communicate, I found a need to ‘reinvent’ myself. My wife and I bought a house in summer of 2007 and as a result interior design projects began. I stared at a blank wall in the living room and just felt compelled to paint something for it. Fear began to creep in my thoughts. What if it’s not good enough? What if I have nothing to say? What if I still hate painting? It was a spiritual turning point in my life. Regardless of my fears, I felt God calling me to paint. This is my painting called ‘Sacrifice’: 


Ambitiously or foolishly I felt to need to paint two large scale paintings each measuring about 4ft x 2 ½ ft. I used left over house paint to do this painting. It’s inspired by Genesis 22 where Abraham is asked to sacrifice Isaac on Mt Moriah. He is asked to give up what is most precious to him, his only son. He does attempt it but the Angel of the Lord intercedes and God blesses Abraham for his faith. To my surprise I discovered that my style and technique had radically transformed. No longer was I so concerned about control, in fact I enjoyed the chaos. Color and story telling through painting started to make sense to me. I had rediscovered a new form of expression for myself. Thanks be to God for allowing me to enter this journey as a painter. I am still learning a lot but I am excited to see where it takes me. Since that pivotal painting 2 years ago, I have since painted 30-40 paintings. Here are a few more:




 Creative Lessons that I have learned:

  • Your abilities as an artist are the sum of your entire life experiences.
  • Continually be in a process of reinventing yourself.
  • Discover what you want to say and SAY IT. Don’t wait.
  • Don’t worry about being inspired. Inspiration comes as you create. Worry about creating.
  • Don’t let anyone put you in a box, especially yourself!
  • Art and Design inspires like nothing else.
  • Generosity changes you and your art. With the exception of my first painting, all other paintings have been given away freely.
Posted in: Design Rules