Our life is unbelievably fleeting and precious and pregnant with infinite potentiality. It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest.

After taking an intensive 8-week design class at the beginning of the year with renowned artist and professor, Richard Nelson, I was invited to probe into my imagination time and time again by asking the question, “What if . . . ?” The course focused more about the process rather than the outcome. Dick and the other students taking the course were a great inspiration to me. I could write an entire blog post about this class and what I learned from it but will save it for another time. We exploited problem-solving phases along with designs with squares, toothpicks, toilet paper rolls, and a computer program (all separate assignments).

Dick Nelson Toothpick ExerciseThe hands-on homework assignments were my favorites – and sometimes proved more challenging than I ever imagined. But when it came to the computer homework I dragged my feet. It was most apparent in this class how little I know about the computer and all it can do. It’s a blessing and a curse to be married to a computer geek who generously takes care of all of my computer-related business such as this blog post you are currently reading. Let’s say I employ his strengths as an engineer so I can free up my time as an artist. But I begrudgingly did the computer assignment on color (it was painfully slow for me), and when I completed it I was high fiving and grinning EAR-TO-EAR! What a sense of achievement! Why? Because one of my weaknesses is that I don’t care for rules, and I want to move on too quickly. But I was able to complete the assignment by painstakingly following the rules and sticking to the guidelines. By doing so, I overcame this challenge. My brain was tired afterward – I expect it was from the S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G.

So, getting back to the question “What if . . . .” – It not only applies to design but also applies to every aspect of our life. Design is all about relationships. Our biggest design project is how we choose to live our life. What happens when challenges arise? Do we avoid, blame, give up, or do we push through to find ourselves on the other side. Not to say that pushing through is going to solve the problem. It may bring up a bunch of other problems to solve. However, by pushing through, we learn things about ourselves.

There is so much to learn and so much to experience. I want to do it ALL! Really, I do! However, I doubt I will live long enough to do it all, so I have to CHOOSE. Humanity’s greatest gift, also our greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices based on fear or built from love.

By continuing to ask the question “What if . . .” I have overcome some limiting beliefs. One big, bold move is taking the leap to becoming a full-time artist. While being an artist has always been my profession, I have always supplemented my income with other jobs, everything from marketing, to selling art, and framing art. Through each of these experiences, however, I have gained skills and built relationships.   It is through the relationships that I have developed and cultivated throughout my 52 years that has brought me to this place now. Of course, I will not do it alone. I have the support of my husband who does my website, the employees at Maui Hands who sell my work, the owners of Picture It Framed who supply me with framing, the people at Art Guide Maui who create my ads, and most importantly, you, who value art and support artists whomever they be.

The relationships we develop with the people put in our path are integral to our self-development. EVERYONE in your life is there for a reason. Even the difficult people. They are also there to teach us about ourselves.

What do you want to explore? Listen to yourself. EDUCATE YOUR IMAGINATION. Maybe it’s time to take that class you’ve been putting off or making a change to your routine.

I will be using my talents and energy to create more paintings and teach more classes. I feel generous when I teach and make art. Instead of being afraid of these changes I welcome them with an open heart and a place of love.

Our society is changing so fast. Instead of being afraid of the changes we read about in the news, free your imagination and ask yourself “What if . . .”

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