The sun was in my eyes, I couldn’t even see what I was painting on the canvas. I wanted to quit so bad but I kept on and wow did it pay off!
On a trip to the Rocky Mountains, I had the opportunity to paint in Estes Park, Colorado. It was Fall and absolutely Beautiful! The Aspen trees were an unbelievable color of bright yellow.
I had been to Colorado many times in my life but never at this time of year. I was told, to catch the aspens at this stage you have to be there during the last week in September. Then the very next week or two they will turn bright red. I’ll have to plan a trip to go back during that time as well.
God was really in a good mood when He created this place.
I went with a couple of close artist friends and we met up with the Outdoor Painters Society in Estes Park.
The Elks were wandering around everywhere we painted You really had to keep an eye out for them because they would come unusually close to people because it was the mating season and they weren’t really paying attention to us or behaving normally.
All the artists scattered throughout Rocky Mountain National park to paint every day. At the end of the day, we’d meet for dinner and talk about our experiences from that day’s painting.
This stream was truly a fantastic place to paint. I sat down on a big boulder in the shade beside the rushing water and painted the whole afternoon. You have to be very careful painting near rushing water though. I dropped a brush and it was gone before I could even see where it went.
After about the 3 rd day of the trip I kept hearing everyone talking about Alberta Falls and how Beautiful it was. I was determined I was going to paint there before this trip was over.
Well, it was the last day of painting and we hadn’t made it to Alberta Falls yet. We were within walking distance from it that morning so I decided, come hell or high water, I was going to paint at Alberta Falls!
I couldn’t convince my friends to go with me so I took out on my own. There were plenty of other hikers on the trail though. I was supposed to have a bear bell or whistle “just in case”, but I didn’t. My plan was that I would just act “crazy” if I should run into a bear and maybe that would scare it away. I’m glad I didn’t have to put that plan into action because I might have had to have a plan B.
Note to self: Make sure you lighten your load of painting gear before hiking 1 mile uphill at 10,000 feet elevation.
I was sucking wind but I FINALLY got up to Alberta Falls. It was well worth it!
The only problem was there were so many people up there, go figure! It was really just a trail that went along the side of a ridge where you could see the falls from a distance. The only spot I could find to set up my gear was on a little bit of a ledge that protruded out and wouldn’t you know it, in this spot the sun was right in my eyes. There was no solution to this problem. There was absolutely no other place to set up my easel. I had my hat & sunglasses on and it still didn’t help. Well, I sure didn’t hike all the way up there to turn back without painting it. So I went ahead and set everything up.
I could see the falls and I could see my palette but I couldn’t see my canvas AT ALL or what I was putting on it. I was truly relying on trusting what I mixed up on the palette and just laid it on the canvas where I “thought” it should go. I was painting BLIND!
I was still having fun even though I was sooooo frustrated with the sun issue. Four times I came so close to packing it up and just quitting. I had never quit on a painting like that before but I’ve never wanted to quit so bad. “I COULDN’T QUIT, NOT WITH ALL THESE PEOPLE WATCHING”. There was literally a battle going on inside of me where I was arguing with myself to quit! But I just couldn’t let myself do it.
I had 3 different sets of people wanting to buy the painting but the National Park won’t let you sell things in the park. So I gave them my business card and told them they would have to call me up later that evening so we could meet up to purchase it.
As many of you know, that’s usually the last you’ll hear from most people. Well SURPRISE, SURPRISE! One lady actually called me and wanted to meet up and buy it. And she said, “By the way, do you have any other paintings? I would like to see them and if its ok, can my sister come to see them as well?” Uh YEAH!!!
So she and her sister came over to the cabin we were staying in and ended up buying 5 of my paintings!
WooHoo! I was a happy little camper!
Not quitting paid off! Had I given up on that painting, those sales would have never happened. It more than paid for my trip and then some.
Oh! and after we I returned home, a few days later she called me up and wanted to buy 2 more paintings from that trip. Cha-Ching! A total of 7 paintings sold.
There are times I feel very confident in my painting skills and then there are times I look like I’ve never painted before and I am so frustrated. Don’t let it get you down. You’re going to have days that are very trying.
I once heard someone say “if you are struggling with your painting skills it means that you are about to push thru to a new level”. So keep on and don’t give up.
Have you had a tough painting experience that was trying but had a good outcome?
If so, share it with us. It could be just the encouragement someone needs to hear right now.
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This was originally posted at RedPaletteStudio.com