I’ve always been creative, but aside from my unbridled childhood years, I’ve been reluctant – almost afraid – to pursue these interests. As I mentioned in my entry about pursuing passions, I’ve finally started painting again. I find it therapeutic – meditative even – and personally rewarding as I see myself improving the more I do it. I’ve done several pieces for friends and family now, and a bunch are hanging in our house, and I’m now trying to work up the nerve to maybe try to sell something. Maybe an etsy store? Terrifying. But I’m working up to it. 


“She’s a natural!” said no one.

When given elective options in school, I desperately wanted to take art, photography, and band. But instead I took spanish, and calculus. CALCULUS! I’ve never dared to think of myself as an “artist” and I’m intimidated by those who do. I’m lucky to have friends who are artists and to have worked with some ridiculously talented people. They inspire and awe me. They are just so impressive. And so brave.

Most of my creative pursuits have happened in the comfort and seclusion of my own home. Why I’ve always been so afraid of this I don’t know. I guess it takes courage to express yourself creatively, and even more to show other people your work. I’m a pretty private person who overthinks everything so making myself vulnerable is a big step. But, there’s no better way to grow and develop than stepping outside your comfort zone, right?

What is “talent” anyway? Are people born with these skills? Every kid creates. Why do some of us keep it up and some chicken out and take calculus? Ok, I’m not saying calculus is a chicken subject. It’s interesting and hard. I’m sure a lot of people love it. But I loved to create. And I’m finally loving it again. And I’m even surprising myself with what I’m able to do. So, without further ado, here’s my little painting journey.

A few years ago, a former colleague of mine hosted a “painting with acrylics” workshop. I thought it sounded fun (but scary) and I really missed Randy (he was such a fun, positive person to work with) so I thought I’d give it a shot. It would be nice to catch up and I knew Randy was gracious enough to be supportive of my skills (or lack thereof). So I went. He had us bring our own photo to paint and since I loved Randy’s landscapes, I chose a photo I’d taken while visiting family on Vancouver Island. He taught us the steps and we followed along. It turned out to be a lot of fun and my painting wasn’t even a total embarrassment! I enjoyed it so much that I dug out some old painting supplies and added the final touches at home.



Not…awful! And I learned a ton. I’m so glad I did that workshop. Over the next year or so I did a couple paintings at home. Not as easy as when you have a pro coaching you through it, but still fun. My favorite from then is a painting I did of the tree my best friend got married under. Again, on Vancouver Island.

2014_WeddingTree_source   2014_WeddingTree_small

Then I took on a more challenging subject for me…and really struggled. I ended up feeling so stuck that I put the paints away for quite awhile.

I tried to paint this photograph by Giancarlo Gasponi

and ground to a halt here.

Over a year later, I had the opportunity to paint with Randy again! And that, plus the whole quitting-my-job-and-moving-away-from-friends-and-family thing, has kicked off this wonderful phase for me. I’ve also been asking for help from painters (friends AND strangers!) which is a big step for me. People are mostly more than happy to help, but that doesn’t mean asking still isn’t scary.

A second workshop with Randy Hayashi

From a second workshop with Randy Hayashi

Finally, here are a few more of the pieces I’ve done recently. I have a bunch on the go too, and don’t you worry, I’ll be sharing (and maybe even selling?) more down the road.

Painting along with Bob Ross




One of my sister’s pups, Ella


My girl, Lucy

My girl, Lucy

I even picked up that Rome painting I got stuck on and finished it as best as I could.


I guess I think talent is mostly a mixture of practice and bravery. Anyone can do this. Take a class, watch videos, try lots of things and learn from them. And if you rage quit a few times, that’s ok.

Thanks for reading!


Jack and Ella with their new artwork


Lucy helping me photograph my work

Lucy helping me photograph my work

3 Thoughts on “My Little Painting Journey

  1. Happy little trees!

  2. Randy Hayashi on January 21, 2016 at 9:49 pm said:

    Thanks for the shout out Colleen. Seriously – you are really getting better with every painting. That picture of Jack and Ella is hilarious – they look like dog divas.

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