April 28, 2021The Inspiring Ones

Sometimes when life happens, that means that nothing went right … the cake fell, you didn’t get the promotion, something important broke that requires an expensive repair, and the creative project you’ve been working on for three days is going nowhere.

But life happens the opposite way sometimes … the cake was a smash hit and got gobbled up, your promotion came through with even better perks than you expected, something important just needed to get plugged into the outlet, and the creative project you expected to take 3 days was finished in 1!


Your creative compadres aren’t there just to lift you up when times are hard. They’re there to cheer you on and celebrate your successes when things are going right, too.

Friends and family are always there, of course. They witness first hand how much of you gets poured into your work. And we always appreciate their accolades and sympathies in response to our successes and trials. Never downplay the love and encouragement coming from them.

But there’s something extra special about a peer who can celebrate your successes with you. Someone who actually does what you do; who knows all the nuances; who recognizes both talent and skill; who can’t be swayed by subpar work; who is willing to be tactfully truthful with you when needed. Someone like that is worth their weight in gold.

At our monthly Gatherings, we always have a show-and-tell time when anyone with a finished project gets to display the fruits of their labor. And we all ooh! and aah!

The quilts these ladies produce are truly works of art … I can’t begin to describe how beautiful they are. And I’m sure they appreciate that I appreciate what they did. But if one of them gets stumped with a choice of fabric or thread, or how to assemble the squares or sashing correctly, they don’t ask me, they ask each other!

And the artists in the group do the same. The quilters ooh! and aah! over our masterpieces, too, but when we need input concerning pencil or paper selection, or how to render some element in a drawing, we reach out to the other artists.

The people who do what you do, who have been there and done that, who have been in the same trenches, are the most fun to work with, the most fun to consult with, and the most fun to celebrate with.

And I can tell you for sure, that those are the same people who will inspire and challenge you and spur you on to greater levels of achievement. Sometimes you’ll find out that those people are way gutsier than you, and they will surprise you in ways you would’ve never thought about …

In another blog from August 2020 I told about artists I had seen on YouTube who were microwaving their Prismacolors. One lady baked hers in the oven. The idea came from folks needing a solution for pencil leads that were broken in the shaft of the pencil, because who knows how much rattling and dropping they are exposed to when they are being boxed, shipped and handled in the store. And it can be mighty irritating to get a pencil that is constantly breaking when being used or sharpened.

The idea is that the colored pencil lead is wax-based, so if you heat it enough to melt it, the breaks will heal as it cools. That actually sounds like it would work! But while the notion of baking them intrigued me, I pretty much just thought the whole idea was hysterical … baking pencils of all things! At over $2 per pencil, I certainly was NOT going to try that!

But I had a lot of fun telling Dixie about it all those months ago, and we both had a good laugh. And that was the end of that … I thought.

Because at our last Gathering, she did it!

She was sitting over at her table working on one of her fabulous pet portraits, and kept grumbling about a pencil that she couldn’t sharpen because it kept breaking off. I was bent over my own project and didn’t say anything, but I smiled to myself when I heard her say something about how she was going to stick it into the microwave at the other end of the room.

I thought she was joking, but when I looked up she was out of her chair and walking to the microwave. She popped the pencil in, zapped it for all of 7-9 seconds and went back to her seat, sharpened it, and went back to her drawing.

From her seat to the oven and back again, I doubt the whole episode took half a minute. And it worked!

I am in awe.

When you’re picking out drawing buddies to help you along your way, just be prepared … there are some amazing people out there …

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  • Dixie says:
    2021-04-29, 06:06:34
    Awe...and I think your amazing. Your lite touch on the pencil brings images to life.
    Thanks, Dixie! My colored pencil compadre!- Sherry A Mitcham
  • BILL MITCHAM says:
    2021-04-28, 07:52:29