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Jar lids and portraits – what could they possibly have in common! by Lorena Bowser

Jar lids and portraits…what could they possibly have in common!

by Lorena Bowser

Have you ever heard someone say “I can’t do this,” and then done it yourself to prove you could? I have opened countless jar lids and turned some impossibly tight screws needing attention just because someone said “it wasn’t possible.” When someone says “no,” I instantly think “why not.” Apparently, that extra bit of positive thinking is all that is needed to accomplish the seemingly impossible. OK, I’ll admit that I’m showing off a bit when I do something for the person who couldn’t manage it, but truth is, I am practicing the most important elements of success – positive thinking, determination, and a good measure of perseverance! Yet, when it comes to bigger challenges, I sometimes get cold feet…

A good friend said to me one day that he wished he had a portrait of one of his favorite composers, Jean Sibelius. I quickly replied: "I can do that!" I'd always wanted to paint portraits, but I had thought my artistic talents not up to the task, so I had never tried. Life without challenges, however, has never been appealing to me either. The promise was made. It was up to me to make good on it. And so I began...not without trepidation. I suddenly realized that I was facing an inner fear of failure as an artist, armed not with experience or skill, but with nothing more than stubborn determination. Quite frankly, I didn't know what I was doing!

Not a few art books and YOUtube tutorials accompanied me on my "journey." It took me a full year to finish the portrait, amidst tears, doubt, and wonder as the painting progressed. Apparently I "did good." Herra Sibelius' new owner is happy! I heaved a sigh of relief (and gratitude) at my accomplishment, and my friend and I talked again about great music and composers, as we often do. Within a few days, I found myself "playing" with a pencil rendition of his other favorite composer, Akira Ifukube. What was I doing! What inner voice was driving me to face the fear of attempting another portrait? I've often wondered at how little control I seem to have over my life. Sometimes the love of challenge drives me to do things I might not attempt if I thought more about them. I sketched a fair likeness of Ifukube in pencil, and showed it to my friend, whose surprise was expressed in one of the most heartfelt laughs I've ever heard. He liked it! Joy begets joy: I was committed! All the fears and doubts of the first portrait flooded over me again as I began to paint. One portrait does not a great portraitist make! ...and I knew it. Let's make a long story short: portrait number two is finished and it only took me a few months. The moral of the story is not that I have learned to paint portraits. It is that a challenge should never be denied. And if the goal is worthy, we should never give up! I guess the fear of facing a new challenge is the shot of adrenaline that we need to see what we are made of. And overcoming a challenge is the best way to grow that I know.

Got that stubborn jar lid!

Lorena Bowser is a lifetime artist and linguist. She has lived all over the world and really knows how to make the pennies scream. Enjoy more of Lorena's resourcefulness at her website and blog: at http://lorenasartandprose.blogspot.com

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