Learn and Grow.

When my first article was published in my mid-30s, I didn’t believe I’d ever be ‘a writer’. At least not out there in the ‘real’ world. And then, my first feature article was published in a magazine and there I was, a ‘real’ writer. (OK. In my defence, I don’t think being published makes you any more or less a writer – but getting paid to write did help my writer’s confidence!)

When I started painting in my mid-40’s I didn’t know I could, especially since most of my life I’d told myself I had no artistic ability. And then, I picked up a paintbrush, dabbed it into a pot of paint, smeared it on a canvas and fell in love with visual-storytelling.

In my 60s now, I still want to learn new things to fall in love with.

Like video-making.

Using the tools at hand, my art, my words, my smartphone and laptop, I have been playing with creating videos of my artwork, both process and finished product.

Recently, I created a mini-movie of one of the mini-art journals I made in a series I’m working on, A Book of Seasons.

While creating it, I learned many things. Like, lighting is everything when filming a mini-art journal and because I’m not all that comfortable with my recorded voice my discomfort makes my voice sound ‘fake’. Learning to become comfortable with how I sound when recorded is a constant journey of practice and… learning to love myself without fearing I will be judged harshly by others. Because, my discomfort with how I sound is not founded on what I think, it’s based on what I fear others will think.

Good learning. Good growth opportunity.

See, even before I became a published writer, I worried others wouldn’t like my words, which meant they wouldn’t like me. And needing people to like me was not healthy for me. It meant I was measuring my worth on what other people thought of what I was doing and saying instead of being comfortable with myself and authentic in how I am in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s lovely if people like me – it’s just not healthy when the need for others to like me overshadows my being authentic and real, honest and true to my values, principles and beliefs – and my creative expressions.

Which brings me back to creating videos.

I’ve been having fun.

And as my friend Rod Winkler likes to remind me, having fun is important! So is not taking myself too seriously, a trap I can fall into when I’m learning something new.

Like the painting above. Yesterday, I decided to stretch myself and paint something almost realistic. I don’t tend to paint realism. I’d like to believe it’s because I prefer the abstract but the ‘honest truth’ (that’s such a contradictory expression isn’t it?). I think it’s because I’m afraid whatever I paint won’t look ‘real’ so I don’t do it.

Looking at my painting of the vase of lilies I can see how I can improve on the flowers. I can also see how I need to celebrate what I created.

It’s the yin-yan of learning/doing something new.

I want to do it perfect the first time knowing it takes practice and repetition to learn something new and grow my expertise as well as my knowledge base.

See, I don’t lose what I already know when I paint ‘realism’. I simply expand my skillset and my capacity to see the world in different lights.

Learn and grow.

It is my mantra for this year. It is the perfect accompaniment to my word for 2021 – “UNFURL”.

To unfurl, I must grow. To grow, I must learn to be comfortable with the imperfect nature of life, and learning something new so that I can keep growing.

Keep learning. Keep growing.


And… this is the video I created of my A Book of Seasons mini-art journal.

16 thoughts on “Learn and Grow.

  1. It’s funny how our voices always sound strange to us when we hear them recorded. To me your voice doesn’t sound fake at all, it sounds gentle and pleasing to my ear. In my 60s I am where you were in your 40s – just picking up a paint brush and making the first few tentative strokes. I so deeply want to use mixed media collage to tell family stories. I’m beginning, and trying, like you, not to take it, or myself, too seriously. I’m really enjoying the creative nudges you’re giving me. Glad I found your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Leslie — your words are such a beautiful song in my heart! And I’m so excited you are looking to use mixed media collage to tell your family stories — it is an amazing journey when we set ourselves free to just be! And thank you. šŸ™‚

      I’m glad we’ve connected too!


    • You made me smile with your last comment Lisa — so true! šŸ™‚ I just want to ensure I don’t ‘do what’s familiar’ because I’m stuck in a rut! šŸ™‚ Ooohhh — see now you’ve got me wondering… Time to explore the fear of being stuck in a rut!


  2. Dear Louise,

    I am so appreciative of your posts/writing and your art. They are both framable. They make me contemplate and they give me joy. That is a certainty.

    As it happens, today when I read your comment about worrying what people think, I wrote this.

    Sending love ~Lilli Ann

    Do I?

    How many times have you thought will they like me? Is this the right clothing? Are these earring too long? Do I look bumpy in this? Did they like what I just said? Do I have the right words for now? Do I have something funny to say? Am I strong enough? Do I look fit enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like my hair? Am I too boring? Did what I create find approval?

    Could I take a box and load all those questions into its voluminous space pack them in tight fold over the flaps and tape it closed? I think it should belong in the back of the closet only to be discovered when Iā€™m gone covered in cobwebs It will be curious to whoever opens it to find it is empty

    Lilli Ann Carey


    Liked by 1 person

    • What a gift you are Lilli Ann. First — thank you for savouring my art and words and sharing your heart back.

      And… thank you for your loving prose. Profound and yes. Definitely a good place for those worries!
      When I used to teach creativity to elementary students, and to adults too come to think of it, I would bring a shoe box I’d covered in black paper and labelled “NEGATIVE THOUGHT BOX” with me. I’d invite students to write their ‘negative self-talk’ onto a sheet of paper and then, seal it up in an envelope. I’d put all the envelopes into the box and tell the class that for the duration of our time together, their negative thoughts were locked up in that box and unavailable. So… if one of them snuck out — write it down and put it in the box.
      I also let them know that if at the end of our time together they wanted their negative thoughts back, they were welcome to them – other wise I would throw them out and they would be gone forever.
      At the end of the class – no one ever wanted their envelope back. šŸ™‚
      thanks for reminding me of that practice.
      And deep, deep thanks for sharing your questions — I don’t think any of us are immune to that voice inside! And what a good way to help it quieten down! šŸ™‚ ā¤ ā¤

      Much love my dear new friend of a lifetime I hope! ā¤


  3. Louise,

    This makes me think about how differently we all experience learning. Learning can be play or difficult work or letting go. As a lifetime educator, I have seen so many come to learning who may have never experienced it as play. It is always my commitment to presence play in learning.

    How wonderful that learning fills you up and you are able to play as you grow. Thank you speaking about your process so that others can hear it as a possibility.

    I appreciate you,


  4. This was wonderful from top to bottom. I love that you keep on learning – and, as far as I am concerned, it’s when we stop that we die. I’m in awe of your talents!


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