Thursday, February 3, 2011

Like No One Is Watching

My Light
10" x 14" watercolor

Confession: When I'm at home all by myself (which is really not all that often) . . . I crank up my iPod and sing really, really loudly.

Am I any good?

No. Not really.

But is it fun?


Saturday morning I went running. The streets were quiet, no one was rushing to work, and there was this hazy fog that covered everything and made me feel like I was possibly the last runner in the world.

I ran past this tree with low hanging branches and I thought of something I used to do as a kid. We had this big willow tree in our front yard and I would always try to jump and touch the branches that hung down.

Okay, honestly I wasn't just trying to jump and touch them, I *hoped* that if I could just grab one of those branches I'd be able to hold onto it and swing around in that tree. Like a monkey. Or Tarzan.  

When I ran past that tree this last Saturday, and remembered what I did as a kid, I wanted to jump and reach for those branches. Just to see if I could touch them. Just to try and feel like a kid again.

But then I thought. . . What if someone's watching me? What if someone sees a grown woman jump just so she can try to touch some tree branches?? Oh, the embarassment!!

So I ran past that tree without jumping.

I only got a few steps before I realized that I was being stupid. Who cares if someone saw me? Who cares if I look like a big weirdo jumping up and down for no apparent reason?

I turned around, ran for the tree, jumped and touched the branches.  

It felt good. :)

I don't know about you, but sometimes I think I miss out on reaching my full creative potential because I'm too worried about what other people will think of me or my work. And then I miss out on all the joy that I know I can feel when I just follow my heart and paint or write what I want to, the way I want to.

And I know I miss out on opportunities to really grow creatively because I'm stifling all those wonderful possibilities out of fear. The fear of being judged and found wanting.

So from now on, no more closet iPod singing, or tree branch jumping! It's my life, and I'm going to create the way that feels right to me.


This portrait is of my oldest boy. I haven't painted a simple portrait of him for a while and I need a new one of him to go on my wall. I have it all planned out where I'm going to put three new portraits of my three sweet boys.

I know that some would say his slightly goofy smile, or the bright sunlight and strong shadows on his face is breaking some portrait rules. But I like it. It feels right to me. It shows my boys' happy personality. His pure heart shines in this.

And really, that's all that matters. :)

Have a great day everyone!


  1. an amazing, amazing portrait crystal! if there are portrait rules you should break every on, as often as you can! and your narrative was wonderful.enjoy and leave it all to the universe. a happy, beautiful post!

  2. HUZZAH!!

    heehee feels good just to shout with you :D And BTW your child's portrait looks great inevery single way, what's not to love about it? I have no idea

  3. You'll just be the crazy art lady in the neighborhood, he he he:) Kidding, I think it is terrific that you went back and jumped for the branch. I do think as we get older, what people think, really matters less and less. Or in the case of my husband he has never cared. I always envy that side of him, sure made growing up as a kid a lot easier on him. He's never been one to cake to peer pressure, or even be aware that there is peer pressure to cave too. I really want my boys to have that trait. Life is so much better if you are just your true, authentic, self. Beautiful portrait!!! Sometimes what we think are goofy poses are just their true, authentic selves, in all their glory. You'll have to take a pic of the portraits hanging in your house, share with the class. Have a terrific day, I hope its filled with jumping for tree branches moments:)

  4. Love the portrait, Crystal. And, as the song say "live like you are dying."

  5. Love the portrait. Your little guy does indeed shine through. What a sweetheart! I have to admit that I turn up my music loud and sing, too. And I've been known to dance as well. That part is sort of embarrassing actually. But definitely fun. Great post today, Crystal. I'm smiling!

  6. It's always reassuring to know that other so called grown up people like to sing at the top of their lungs and jump to touch tree branches. I also spend a bit of time dancing in my studio. It gives me energy in the midst of a painting day. I crank up Emmy Lou Harris and just do my footwork! It is too bad that we lose that spontaneous unself conscious freedom to act as we grow up. I remember as a child dancing and singing to myself on Bloor St. in Toronto, outside of my Grandpa's little store, just passing time. An older man stopped to watch me and then smiled and said something nice (he didn't seem weird or anything) and I was suddenly made aware & a bit embarrassed of what I was doing out in public - displaying my happiness - and I was never quite so free again. The portrait is full of a glowing light and the expression on your son's face is priceless. Don't change a thing! Rules, schmules...break 'em all!

  7. And a handsome boy he is, Crystal! I love the portrait. It shows off his real personality, or at least that's what it looks like to me. I've been wanting to do portraits of my boys, but I keep listening to a little voice in my head that keeps saying, "Don't go there, it's too challenging". I know I can do it, but I'm still afraid of failure and so I procrastinate. I need to get into your frame of mind and just go for it. Thanks for being inspiring!

  8. It is obvious there is a lot of love here. It shows in your work.

  9. Stunning portrait. Full of light and life.

    Does it matter what people think? I don't think so. If its right for you, do it.
    Today's opinion, like today's news - is tomorrow's chip paper!

  10. Love your story! Makes me laugh. Just today my friend and I were at JCPenny's and started playing hopscotch with our five year old daughters, right in front of the checkout line. But we didn't care, and sometimes it feels great to be a kid again, especially with your kids. They love that.
    I love your way of painting! I am amazed at how you can bring so much light and personality into your portraits. That is what really makes you stand out to me. Great work. Can't wait to see the next three portraits of the boys!

  11. CRYSTAL ... it is such a wonderful portrait! And Bravo to you for doing what you really want to do! I did something like that today, too, and I feel MUCH better [tho' I may be much shorter on cash] And thank you for the cookie and the good thoughts!

  12. Beautiful portrait, Crystal! I would love to be able to paint portraits so I could do them of my boys! His personality shines through!

  13. good for you for reaching for that branch.

  14. Incredible portrait and very good and inspiring story Crystal. As I truly believe that nothing is coincidental in our lives; your story came to me right on time. We need to commit to ourselves to get the best out of our talents and stop being shy (or, this is confession about myself, sometimes lazy)..
    Thank you,
    When I am at home by myself I love to dance ( just crazy happy dance: rock or ballet, it doesn't matter) :)

  15. Thats a sweet portrait of a handsome chap!I like the golden glow on his face..
    And it was a good thing that you decided to turn around and did what you really wanted to do! How many of us have that courage?

  16. What a lovely post. Inspiring. I told you already, but once more is no harm. You can become a good motivational speaker.

    And this portrait is just awesome. I love that Koadak moment smile.

  17. Ugh!! Rules? Who needs them! I think that this portrait is stunning for the very reason that you broke these 'stifling' rules (and of course that your son is SO cute)! You are simply THE VERY BEST portrait artist I have EVER come across, so as far as I'm concerned - yours should be the rules for everyone to follow!
    Your post really made me chuckle today. I would have done exactly what you did at first, but then run back and start swinging, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee lol!

  18. By the way - Your son reeeally looks like his dad!

  19. Love the light on his face, Crystal. it's another beautiful painting.

    It snowed today in San Antonio. First time in the 17 years my daughter has been here. She took her eight year old son out to play on the small hill in front of the house. Kids were outside with garbage can lids sliding down the hill. She took out a plastic laundry basket for him to slide in. Then she sat in it herself and went sliding down, not caring that none of the other parents were playing. I love that about her.

  20. The painting & smile are perfect! Wonderful post! Glad you shared. I think I'll try to live a bit more fearlessly too!

  21. This portrait irradiates happiness and " joie de vivre".
    What a gorgeous little boy.

  22. Wow! What a lovely post! The portrait seems perfect to me. Your son is never going to stop loving this one.
    And what a lovely comparison you have drawn here between jumping and touching the branch and trying to grow creatively. You give your readers such wonderful insights into life.
    Thank you for this lovely post.
    Best wishes,

  23. I sing opera when no one is listening, then I laugh because I sound like the nun on The Sound of Music. Huzzah! ;)

  24. Love your posts, so fun to read. Excellent portrait! We all feel self conscious about our art and what others may think.

  25. Beautiful portrait Crystal, lovely lighting. As for confidence, you get swinging on those branches. If anyone asks you, just say you are doing some cross-training)

  26. As I've said many times, your portraits of children are sensitive and stunning. Lots of times WC portraits of children are slightly stilted even when they're well done. Anyway, what a beautiful little boy. I love what you said in this post because I feel the same way about how my own doubts hold me back. There, it's out!! I need to stop thinking of subject matter as 'owned' by another artist who happens to do it brilliantly and just paint. I'll try ;)

  27. What a stunning portrait Krystal....I loved reading your post, how I can relate too much to it, as i'm sure lots of us can..

  28. great painting! if my mom did a portrait of me growing up i'm pretty sure i would have had stick arms.

  29. Greetings from Finland. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day to you. Come and pick up images Teuvo Blog Valentine's Day card. Teuvo Vehkalahti Finland

  30. I saw your blog, and become follower immediately! Beatiful!!

    Greetings from Germany,


  31. Yay for you!!! Who cares if we embrace our inner child? Not me, I do it all the time. It's when you are around a teenager that makes more like a mom. Then you just say, the heck with it and embarrass her anyway! :-)

  32. Thats one 1000watt smile :) wonderful painting!!! haven't seen a post almost whole month --hope things are ok and you will be back soon!

  33. We are all anxiously awaiting your return to Blogger, Crystal. Hope things are ok.

  34. Crystal - Thought I'd stop by and check in on you since it's been over a month since you've posted. I hope all is well with you and yours. I look forward to seeing what you've been working on lately.

  35. I have no words, you're a great teacher, Crystal. I can only admire and try to learn. Congratulations, with all my admiration.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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