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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Pulling In The Reins

Since I was 8 years old I’ve wanted to be an artist. When I told a step-parent my dream I was told find something else. At that moment the small seed of hope that lived within me was crushed. I wasn’t good enough.

In my mid-20’s I gathered courage and registered for classes at Pasadena City College. The same year my youngest son began 1st grade. I was studying illustration, painting and design. He studied crayons, paper and paste.
Within a few years I found watercolor. Unfortunately, my first class was discouraging. The teacher was more interested in socializing with her “favorites” and her only words to me were criticism. I didn’t try watercolor again for 3 years. When I found the right teacher my world opened up!!!  Her name was Verna Wells. I learned that the best teacher not only instructs but encourages and nurtures the seed with each student.

As my skills grew my paintings started to be recognized. I was asked to teach a weekly class and I’ve never looked back. That was more than 20 years ago. Teaching has become a mission of mine. I’ve tried to show every person who came through my door (a workshop) that they were valued and had something unique and wonderful to offer. The rewards have come in many forms: letters, notes, private conversations and cherished friendships. The most profound reward has come in knowing…I am enough. The seed that was crushed as a child is now a tree.

All living things on earth need time to rest, gather strength and rejuvenate. God created season’s for a reason. During the dormant months we may not see growth on the surface but beneath things are happening. I feel a need to push my roots deeper and grow stronger. Growth takes time and energy.
I have so many things I have yet to explore and my head it exploding with ideas…but I lack the time and energy to do it. If I desire something I need to make changes.

What I'm trying to tell you? I’m pulling in the reins. This year I have 15 workshops and next year I have 9. Somewhere between 6 and 8 will be the perfect number.  Do I want to stop teaching? No. Teaching is the core of who I am....I love it.  But, I plan on being more selective of when and where I teach and the number of workshops each year. Instead of running at full speed I am bringing my teaching schedule down to a gentle trot. I’m excited for what the future holds.

My current workshop schedule is on my website and all sessions have a wait list. I’ll be posting my 2020 workshop schedule in a month or so.

Gotta run for now. I need to pack for a flight. Tomorrow I’ll be doing a demonstration for the California Watercolor Society, followed by a 3-day workshop starting the following day.

Happy Painting!
Brenda

24 comments:

  1. You have the most endearing way of being interested in, and nurturing others along their own chosen path on which they create. You tend to water and feed whatever is there inside us, from mechanics to music & dance including all the facets reflected in between. Art is in the experience, I'm glad you will be pulling in the reins, so that you can marinate in more moments of pure joy.

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  2. I have been teaching art for over 30 years and I hate hearing about bad art teachers. Those who don’t encourage everyone and tell some one they have no “talent” or some other baloney. I was also discouraged by my paw rents, but I did not let it stop me, I went to art school and am now a full time artist. I teach and I show and sell my art at about 25 art fairs a year.. you and I know how vital art is for everyone. I ALWAYS am positive with my students, esp the young ones. I tell them to keep doing art no matter what anyone says!, thanks, and btw I am coming to your demo at the Ca, Watercolor assoc. in Walnut Creek Wed night! Eileen P. Goldenberg www.goldenbergdesigns.com

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    1. Eileen, You know what I'm talking about! Thanks for you input =)
      See you Wednesday night!

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  3. Dear Brenda, I was basically told the same thing in art class in the 8th grade, “ maybe I would want to take home economics instead of art!” I finished the class and didn’t pursue watercolor again until about 15 years ago! It is a joy when I am creating something, no matter how it turns out! I am so looking forward to meeting you tomorrow at your demo, and then taking your workshop! Safe travels! Jeanine Martin

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    1. Jeanine, Thank you for your comment. Sadly many women have been discouraged to be creative. Thankfully we found our creative voice before to late.

      See you tomorrow and for 3 creative days!

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  4. Well done Brenda I have been following your path for the last 5 years when I rediscovered art and discovered Watercolor and Sketchbook Skool. Your writings are always informative and enjoyable...attending one of your workshops is a one day moment for me but in the meantime I enjoy your work from afar. Well done for your achievements ��

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    1. Mary, Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. ~Hugs

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  5. You have had a grueling workshop schedule but you have managed to be an inspiring teacher. I can certainly understand why you would want to rein it in. I hope I will be able to connect with you in another workshop before you totally throw in the towel.

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    1. Lois, No plan to throw in the towel...I love teaching!
      I'll be back at SCVW in the future...it's already on my calendar =)

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  6. Thank you for encouraging me! I hope you blog a little, just to let us peek at your art—and to let us see your kitties! That watercolor of the kitten is wonderful!

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    1. Jane, I'll still be blogging and teaching! Can't stop me from sharing.

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  7. I don't blame you for wanting to reduce your teaching schedule, Brenda. I only taught locally for 20 years, and I did the same thing. I found I wasn't growing as an artist because I was always preparing for another class. I can't imagine how hard it is with national and international travel. Time seems to go faster as we get older, and we get more selective about how to spend that time.

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    1. Stevie, Travel is the hardest part...not fun!

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  8. Yea Brenda!!! You never cease to amaze me. I feel blessed to have spent time with you last year and hope we can find lavender fields together again soon. You brighten up everyone’s lives. This new direction will take you so far! Wow! xoxo

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    1. Cherry, Thank you my friend ๐Ÿ’• You know how hard the artist life can me. Looking forward to painting together again.
      ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  9. Good for you! Change, and being true to yourself, indulging your personal creativity and space is wonderful!

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    1. Karen,
      Thanks for your encouraging words๐Ÿ’•
      ~Hugs

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  10. Oh Brenda i have always felt so fortunate to have been able to learn from you and even more so now. You were so kind and encouraging. I treasure that experience. All the best to you!

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  11. Laural, I feel fortunate too๐Ÿ’•

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  12. I wanted to learn to draw but the kids in my grade 8 had art for two years prior and I having had none was not at their level. My first and last class was a life drawing class. The teacher told me I would never learn to draw and not to come back to her class. At 70, I took my mum to an art hour at her seniors residence where they had brought in Bob Kain (chirp magazine) fame. He explained why everyone can draw. I took him at his word, headed to the library and the rest is history. I draw everyday...

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    1. Great to hear!! A life of creativity is the best๐Ÿ’•

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  13. I’m a little late reading your blog—because I’m so busy! I think it’s a theme as (whoever said it above) we get older. A joy-and a trap. Its not a bad thing, what we do is good (teach, nurture, help others find their voice) but God also made us for rest! And balance. As I read so many, myself included, can resonate with your experiences. You will be a better teacher for taking more time for yourself. I have been helped just by seeing your excellent work! Love to take a workshop someday and meet you in person. May God bless you as you pull back! Hope to see you soon!

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