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Stories while Spring painting

Updated: May 29

In the moment thoughts and connections while creating

As an ever curious coach, artist, and someone who is sparked by connecting with others, it has been fascinating creating in public and sometimes persuading the people I meet to participate in making art.

My first stop was Rileys Lock Rd., one entrance point to the C&O canal. I parked my car across from a beautiful forsythia bush in front of me. Taking out my canvas, I saw a woman quickly walking down a long driveway from her house at the top of the hill. She asked me what I was doing. “Painting Spring, I said.” She told me that my car was on her property. Apologizing, I moved it, as she walked back up the long driveway. I wondered if the forsythia was on her property and decided to take my chances, adding the first strokes of brown and yellow to the canvas.

This encounter was not completely participatory, but it did spark an exchange. Interacting while creating art, playing live music or during collaborations is powerful. It is immediate, anything can happen and is something I am comfortable with and passionate about.

My next stop was a scenic overlook on my way to Frederick, Maryland. Looking out, I saw big pods, dried flowers, twirling vines, all mixed together. I couldn’t decide if there had been a fire that swept through the area, as a grey ash color covered everything. It looked surreal and beautiful. I began gathering the giant pods, dried flowers and took the vines, tying them around the stems, creating an in the moment dried flower arrangement.

In life coaching, much of the clients’ experience is process focused — a discovery through emotions, patterns and perspectives. As a coach with a yoga and mindfulness background, being in the moment and present with clients and partnering with them to see possibilities and move forward, is powerful in them living a more fulfilling life.

Excited to expand my adventure, I took my paints, canvas, and headed toward the mountains, stopping along the way at Harpers Ferry. Spotting a beautiful cherry tree, I pulled out my paints and brush and added twists and turns, like the tree branches in front of me. Then I began throwing paint, trying to capture the energy of the light pink blossoms, cascading from the branches.

Not all great works of art are created in one day. Like coaching, there are layers to discover, new colors to add, that define the beautiful, unique piece of artwork. It takes time, patience, determination.

The next day, I drove to a local park in Kensington, Maryland. Drawn to a tall, unusual shaped cherry blossom tree with winding and twisting branches, like dancers, moving in different directions. A woman strolled by, stopping to say that she was glad I was painting in this spot. I asked if she would like to add anything. She preferred watching. She went on to share that when her children were young there was a tree just like the cherry tree, hanging over their porch. She and her children would have dinner outside and blooms fell like snow, covering them as they ate. She smiled sweetly as she shared her story with me. Asking about her children, she told me they were grown now. Beautiful memories, she said.

Creating in person allows for stories to be shared, connections to happen. In coaching the past influences who we are, and we bring clients to the present. We have them focus on what is possible right now, what action can they take to create the change they want to happen.

Still painting in the same spot, a woman walked by with a baby carriage. I asked her if she wanted to add something to the painting. She smiled and said she didn’t want to mess it up. I asked if she wanted to add a touch of paint using a color she liked, assuring her it would be fine. She quietly declined.

There is a natural resistance to change. It takes 30 days to change a habit. It takes time, practice, commitment. And, why not make it easier, have a partner with you on your journey. Imagine what is possible if you say yes, take the chance on you, and create a beautiful life, full of colors, expression, fully and authentically you.

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