Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Discovering Your Value

Sitting Down with Friends, digital image by S'zanne Reynolds, Studio Zanne

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."
~Albert Einstein

I've been thinking deeply about success and value...and how I define success and my own worth. There are so many ways to be of value and very few of them look like our modern definition of "success". 

Recently, a friend shared that her children's school has an art history program run by the parents. These volunteer moms and dads, from all walks of life, humbly present various artists and artworks to the kids. What an incredible value they are providing for those children, the teachers, the school and their community --what lives they are changing! 

So, how does one define success or measure one's value?
Is success a great painting? a big house? a tiny "green" car? or doing something "big"? It might be.
But is your value in that painting, in the house, in the car or even in the doing? Probably not.
Rather, isn't value felt by contributing color to a wall, comfort to hearts at home, and ways to transport yourself and others into living a full life? and even in just being who you are? Perhaps value isn't really created, but opportunities to experience value are. Perhaps our value is already within us...and maybe failure only comes from failing to recognize the value already there.

I read an interesting example of our inherent value. If we are all compared to individual pieces of a puzzle, each necessary for the whole, then one piece is not more important than another. If you turn the puzzle over, all the pieces look the same grey is not more colorful or more intelligent or more needed  than another. If you take even one seemingly insignificant piece away, the whole puzzle falls apart.

Would you think of yourself as more successful if you realized your inherent value....rather than thinking that your value is dependent on your success?

It seems that when we take the pressure off to perform and to be a "success",
we can then be free to experience our real value.

So go out and discover your value today...
I bet you'll be really successful at it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Two Paintings Find New Homes

Camouflage Cowgirl,  14x18" oil on canvas

My camo cowgirl shows a spirited young woman with her "war paint" on...ready to face the world and whatever is thrown at her with dogged determination, a spirit of conviction and purity of faith. Her piercing Egyptian like eye is undaunted in facing her foes and the pain she must endure. She is the Mary of the desert of hopes and dreams...many of which have been crushed, but softly flicker around her silhouette in a halo of desperate hope. 

She was what was left of my inner child during an extremely painful part of my life. She now sits proudly in the kitchen of a dear friend who has seen her share of hard times and knows a thing or two about determination and faith herself.

Brenda's Blooms,  20x20" oil on canvas

This beautiful neighboring Bradford pear tree was calling to me to paint her a few springs back, before the drought set in. She seemed to burst up from the dark, wet, green earth in an explosion of joyful creamy blooms. She was the earth's joys waiting to be reborn and released into the hearts around her-- the soul's renewal of spring materialized.

The tree did not make it through the last two years' dry seasons and is standing bare...soon to be cut down by its new owners. The painting is now with the original home owners who had to move away due to the economy and rebuild their lives in another state. She watches over them from the painting and continues to bare record of the promise of renewal for us all.

. . . . . . .

I guess I'm feeling kind of sentimental these days. We've all been told to count our blessings if we want to receive more. Well, I've found recently, that counting my blessings is starting to help me have let go of some really difficult parts of my past...including letting go of everything from paperwork to photos to furniture to paintings....even with the person I used to identify myself as. Many of my friends and neighbors are doing the same...downsizing and going where brighter paths take them.

Have you ever been tempted to hoard your paintings, or hold onto stuff well past its usefulness?
I never really thought of myself as a hoarder until I realized that I was going to drown in my own paintings if I didn't start selling them!

In the last couple of weeks I've let go of some of my dearest paintings which have been a really difficult thing to do. As an artist you remember who you were and what you were going through at the time each painting is you bled for some of those strokes, or the joy you felt laying in all those juicy colors. Or, you think a painting must go for a certain price...or no price is adequate to repay the angst you went through to paint that one!

However, I kept having the persistent thoughts that these two paintings should go to particular homes. And, as I started to release the material things around me which were suffocating me mentally...I began to be able to allow the release of these paintings...and what they represented in my past. I'm so grateful that they were joyfully adopted!

It helps me to write about them, too...I don't think I ever really realized what they were about until recently.

I have more paintings who need new homes...!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kerrville Outdoor Painters' Event

OK, this is Sedona, but you can imagine a Texas Hill Country "paint out"
...without the large red rocks!

I'm so excited! I have been accepted into my first juried "plein air" paint out... the "Bigger Than Texas" Kerrville Outdoor Painters' Event
in Kerrville, Texas, October 4 – 6, 2012.

In the company of several other juried artists, I'll be painting outside along the Guadalupe River as it runs through historic Kerrville in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. I'll also be participating in a "quick draw" and painting competition... as well as exhibiting in
the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, October 6 - November 3. 

Hope you can join in the festivities and come out and watch us paint the great outdoors!
For more info, visit KOPE.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I heard a song that really moved me today. It's a great reminder that we are redeemed, bought back, found worthy, renamed...made free to be who we really are, free from our past and our material stories of why we can't succeed today.

It's called "Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave. Enjoy!


Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed