During the Creative Process
What Are the Odds?
‘How long did it take for you to get your signature style?’
‘How long did it take before you started selling your work?’
‘How long did you paint before you started making paintings that you liked?’
These are questions that come up with artists. I’ve had them in my live workshops and I have posed them myself in times past. If not out loud, I’ve at least thought them a zillion times throughout the years.
It comes from (I think) a longing inside to “get there”.
To arrive at a place that is our heart’s desire but one that we’re not quite sure is possible.
At least for us.
What do we say to ourselves about the purpose of a question that begins with
‘How long did it take to….?’
Why do we want to know?
Probably need to really look at why we ask this leading question.
Else if we get an answer in the form of ‘thirty years, 10,000 hours of doing it, worked five jobs while working my way through art school in Paris’…
we may feel the urge to retreat and hang up our brushes telling ourselves that this isn’t possible.
At least for us.
If it took them 20 years of trial and error to get to where they are, then maybe we are never going to get ‘there’.
You know, not great odds in arriving.
Which leads me to my ‘odds’ story….
A few years back I had a wisdom tooth that needed removed…only problem was it was close/sitting on a nerve. The one that controls sensation from mid lip line to the corner of the mouth and down the chin. Significant if one is kissing. Or dribbling soup on your chin 😉
I’ll always remember that when I asked the doctor what the odds were of nerve damage happening, he said…
‘If it happens to you, the odds are 100%. The others (odds) don’t really matter.’
Yes, just stop and sit with that for a moment.
And then realize this:
Be inspired by what happens for others but never use it as an odds maker for your life.
Your journey is your journey. Mine is mine. Theirs is theirs. We will all arrive and it will be by a thousand and more different paths. How it came together, to be, for someone else doesn’t tell you anything about how it’s going to work for you.
None of the things that I thought had to happen for me to have a signature look, do paintings that I was happy with, have an art life that I love… happened. What had worked for someone else seemed to have no bearing on what happened to me. Life is funny AND wonderful like that.
As Emerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead [or where the odds say you should go], go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
The path is your path and it is not determined by the odds.
When it crosses your mind to wonder ‘how long did it take…’ flip the question.
Ask yourself why you feel like you need to know. If it’s because that you fear the odds are stacked against you just remember this.
For every predictable outcome there are other stories that don’t jive with the odds.
Charlie and Noah Kinney, folk artists from the county I grew up in, made folk art. They lived out their lives in the humble house they were born in. Folks came from around the world to visit them and see their art. Their work is in the Smithsonian.
What are the odds?
Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau are some of America’s finest writers. They all lived in Concord, Massachusetts and they all knew each other.
What are the odds?
Remember Susan Boyle? A shy, never heard of before 48 year old singer who simply entered a talent contest in Britain. Her album ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ broke the record for the most pre-ordered album, ever, in Amazon history.
What are the odds?
Love where you are and your journey.
And remember when you are wondering about ‘what are the odds?’…
The odds don’t really matter 😉
Note: I have had so many things happen that defy the odds.
What are the odds that Justin Platt of Main Street Media would live across the street from me? That’s him with the camera and he’s the awesome videographer for the Dream.Love.Paint Courses! The sweet gal is Cristina who was our interpreter while we traveled/filmed/painted in France.
Keep scrolling and reading because I want to know…
What’s one of your ‘what are the odds?’ stories? Leave a comment to inspire!
P.S. Once Upon a Time in Provence, my online painting adventure, will be opening again for enrollment September 7, 2107. So much joy and so many great comments!
When I was 27, I looked into what it would take to be a piano tuner. After a few calls, I found a tuner that would teach me with a couple of other interested women. What are the odds? I tuned all of my friends’ pianos to practice while I was working full-time and raising 2 small children. I got a job tuning pianos for a piano store. What are the odds? 15 years ago, I started to paint. I was juried into a wonderful painting group. What are the odds? I have gained so much over those years. After 36 years of tuning pianos, I am retiring at the end of this year. And I can put more time into my painting. Well, that’s in between driving a school bus. What are the odds? Thanks, Dreama. You make us appreciate what we do, what you do, and reach a bit farther.
Strange that I would open this yesterday because you see for the last two years I have asked that question in my mind never posed it out loud to anyone, but yesterday it was screaming at me in my head, than your post that answered it. Thank you so much for your contribution to all of us artist I really need it.
I don’t have what are the odds story yet but I have hope now that I will
Again Thank you..
Love to beat the odds. Love hearing about so many others beating the odds in so many ways. Positivity & just doing what we are called to do are important first steps. Live your own life-love the life you live. Paint on!
Just start and enjoy the journey!! Paint for the love of it. Best advice I ever received .
Two years ago I painted a picture of a local diner that turned out pretty nice. I tried to find out who the owner of the diner was to show it to him/her through Google, and thought maybe I had, but didn’t know how to contact him. I wasn’t brave enough to go to the diner and say, “Hey, I painted the diner can I show it to the owner.”
Two weeks ago he found ME! and contacted me through a website where I sell my work. He bought the painting and it will hang in the diner.
What a wonderful & original way to say don’t compare yourself… just follow your heart, doors open and “magical” possibilities occur. Thank you for the post!
My “what are the odds” is that I paint. And not only paint but have such a passion for painting. I am 48 and my whole life I have tried to have “a hobby” reading, using yarn of different ways and many other things. When I picked up a paint brush for the first time it just fit. I have been painting for about 3 years now. Thank God for YouTube. It has become my passion. It is a stress reliever, inspiring, calming, happy,sad and really allows me to get out my emotions. And had helped to bring down my blood presure. But I would have never though I would like painting well alone be good at it and love it as much as I do. Thank you for yourwritings I love them.
It is interesting to hear the answers to these questions, but they come with the caveat, “Your mileage may vary.” This means you may take more time or less time than someone else. It means you may need to exert more effort — or less effort — than someone else. The important part of the answer is that it *IS* possible. Hold onto that. Believing is the first step on the path to achieving.
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