Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Jump right in.

57 Comments

I’ve been painting the little cards that I send off in batches of 5 to a nonprofit who distributes them to seniors in Michigan assisted living and nursing home residents, I get attached to almost every painting and it’s hard to put them into envelopes and mail them off. It’s kind of like they are my kids or something.

I need to start working on spring stuff again.

Before I mail them I like to just look at them, and I always take a picture before they go. I’m often surprised that I painted them, but other times it’s painfully clear that I did them, though most of the time I send them on anyway. I know how much it means to get a note in the mail, and most people won’t be offended if the artwork isn’t up to par.

Did these in January for Valentines. I think I did 10 of them.

Because, really, who decides what’s par anyway?

The nonprofit I make these for is called Bring Smiles to Seniors, and it sends cards all across the United States. I work with the Michigan chapter, because that’s where I live. But I know there’s a big chapter in Florida too, as well as smaller groups in the other states.

These just went to the seniors. Sometimes I do images a second time, so some of you might recognize something in here.

They take handmade cards that are donated by individuals and groups, and get them into the hands of people who could really use a smile. Check them out if you make cards and are looking for an outlet for your art. Your art doesn’t have to be watercolor. It can be anything at all, stamping, collage,pencil, anything that will make someone smile.

Still love to do birds.

But I really meant to blog about a tiny bit of branching out that I did. Something a little bigger than the greeting cards I’ve been painting since the pandemic began. This is a 5×7 piece, done from a reference photo I stole from a friend’s Facebook page a couple years ago.

I loved the color of her coat and boots and especially the hat.

I didn’t have enough confidence to try it back then, but I loved it when I saw the image on her page and thought it would make a really lovely painting. It’s her granddaughter, walking among the pines on one of their many adventures up north.

At the beginning of 2022 I began to think about trying to reproduce some version of the image. I always knew I’d mail it to my friend, regardless of how it turned out. It’s the thought that counts. Right?

Might even start to do some summer stuff. Even if there IS 5 inches of snow on the ground today.

But oh the pressure! To do something bigger, something specific to someone. And to do a person, even if it’s just the back of a person! All of those things made it very difficult to start.

These, done last fall, were much easier!

Why is it that we so often don’t want to start, in fear of failing. Of wasting a piece of paper and a little bit of paint? I did a practice painting in my sketch book and it wasn’t bad. So I took a deep breath and just began.

And I’m mostly pretty happy with it. Of course, like any piece, there are things I’d do differently, things I hope no one notices. But that’s true of any piece of art.

And in the end, it fulfilled a number of goals. One was to make my friend smile. Another was for me to try something different. And a third goal was to realize it’s just paper…dont worry, jump in!

From this past Christmas.

Today I encourage you all to take some time for yourself and jump into something you love to do. Or something you’ve always wondered if you’d love.

The experience will make you smile. Guaranteed.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

57 thoughts on “Jump right in.

  1. I really do love your artwork. You are truly talented. I keep thinking I should do this as well with my greeting cards. Thanks for the nudge.

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  2. I love your artwork. Don’t diminish your talent, because you obviously have a lot of it. When I am painting, I get frustrated because I’ll have an image in mind, but it so often does not come out the way I see it.

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    • I usually don’t imagine it in my head, I’m almost always using a reference image, mostly taken from the internet, but sometiemes from a photo I took. I’m thinking about doing some of the barns I’ve photographed. I toy with trying to do Katie. I think I need to try that before she’s gone because it would be hard to do it after.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anyone would love to receive your artwork! It’s beautiful!

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  4. Your artwork is beautiful Dawn! It is sure to bring a smile to many. You’re quite right about the fear of failure, but we never know unless we jump right in. Lovely post!

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    • I don’t know why I am like that. It’s just paper and not something I should worry about “ruining.” I’ve watched lots of tutorials and have learned that there’s an ‘ugly’ phase to almost every painting, and if you keep working throug it, or walk away and come back and work on it most of them can become something you truly like.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think these are brilliant and even better for being originals. You’re bringing smiles to many faces.

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  6. These are lovely! I especially like the rainbow birds on a wire 💖

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  7. I absolutely love your cards. Could you do a class to make these? Maybe thru Springfield Parks & Rec. They are so beautiful.
    – Pam and Scout

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    • I don’t know, I have worked with one person to develop her water color skill, she’s a natural and just didn’t know it. But I don’t know if I could teach more than one at a time, and then it’s more like coaching than teaching. Everybody has their own style.

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  8. the cards are beautiful. I might send you a picture of our dogs and ask you to paint them.

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  9. Dawn–these are all so wonderful. I loved the Valentine cards, but then I saw the Christmas elves and then the pumpkin…oh, and then the owl! You are very, very talented, and I can imagine the joy of receiving one of these works of art.

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    • Thanks Lois. I find almost all of these on the internet and copy what I see, it’s been hard for me to stretch and do something different than what I see, but I’m starting to now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • These really are great, Dawn. Imagine these in a boxed set of ‘everyday’ cards. I’d think ‘etsy shop’….of which I know nothing, but these are definitely saleable.

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        • I did make a set of 8 (or so, can’t remember) for a friend who I knew sends out real cards and who had expressed how much she liked them. I did it as a surprise. That was fun. Now she’s asked for more so I’m in the middle of finishing a batch for her. Fun for me because I can do some of those I really enjoyed over again.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. What flair and talent you have! Your cards are absolutely lovely, and what a treat to receive one of them. Glad you found the courage to paint something different. It can be hard to branch out.

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  11. Your artwork is awesome! I love all your designs, the tulips are especially fun for Spring!

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  12. Dawn, You’re talented and your cards are beautiful. Very generous of you to create and send them to your friends and the nonprofit for seniors. It’s a great idea to draw or paint Katie.

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  13. All of them are beautiful. The variation in color of the maple leaf is subtle, but stunning. I bet the seniors put them in frames on their dressers.
    Whatever you try, you persevere until you nail it. Tenacity makes for a beautiful final product.

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    • I like that maple leaf too. I like working in the small space of cards, it seems less threatening than facing a whole big sheet of paper. But I hope to stretch (lol) this year to some bigger pieces. Harder to pawn those off on people though! 🙂

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  14. All of your cards and drawings are lovely, Dawn. Don’t sell yourself short! Folks who receive the cards that you made with love will enjoy them. I know I would!

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  15. Those are amazing! Continue please.

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  16. Dawn, I LOVE the picture you painted for me – you captured both Sylvi, our forest and the adventures we go on. I too love her hat. She is a unique child who simply loves being herself. You are an artist who makes many smile. Those who get the cards and those of us who see your art. And, FYI – many artist feel they are not good enough etc. Yet most of us can’t stop for we love to play and create. Keep on dipping your brushes in and for sure no paper is wasted IF you had fun and learned something. You are ahead of most for you share your art.

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    • I’m SO glad you like the painting of your grandaughter. I admire the two of you a lot, for all the adventures you go on together. My grandparents were so much older than me that we didn’t adventure together, buy my mom’s mom had a wonderful farm that I got to visit and explore, so that was something I’ll always remember. Your Sylvi will remember all the fun she had with you growing up too!

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  17. Dawn – these are wonderful! And I love that others are being blessed through them.

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  18. You my dear… brought a smile to my face today. The hearts with those adorable faces, then the colorful birds all on a wire and then The Owl! 😊
    It’s funny you are talking about this today. I make and send cards to friends just to say hello. Who doesn’t like getting a card in the mail these days… it’s a lost art due to emails etc. I use photographs for my cards … I wish I could paint! (You are so talented!) However, I have just started to address the envelope in calligraphy or nice handwriting (I am still learning) and decorate the envelope with a vintage stamp collage. As long as the stamps add up to .58 cents the cards look beautiful inside and outside. I found a lovely person on Etsy who sells the vintage stamps.
    Thank you for bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. Enjoy the weekend!

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  19. This truly makes me smile, Dawn. You have a gift, my friend, and I’m happy you’re not hiding it under a bushel basket! You might never know how many people are cheered by the pictures you’re making, but keep making them, okay?

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  20. Aahhh, Katie. . .

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  21. Oh wow! Those are all so beautiful!

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  22. Beautiful cards and your gesture Dawn.

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  23. I so admire your cards and have treasured the times I’ve received one. The seniors you send them to surely feel the color and brightness shining from your offerings.

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  24. I love your cards. They make me smile just to see them on this page. I especially love your bird paintings. You do a beautiful job.

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  25. Your talent shines brightly on each and every card. That’s so wonderful that you donate them – I work in the Assisted Living industry and trust me, each and every card received by a resident is truly enjoyed. Keep on keeping on – your paintings are a blessing.

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  26. You do beautiful work. My mum painted in oils, she said water color was hard as it was so unforgiving.

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    • My mom painted with oils too, and also tried some watercolor. It IS hard if you’ve done a lot of oil or acrylic…because it’s backwards, starting with lights and moving toward the darks.

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