Watercolor and digital painting: The equivalent of an adrenaline shot for my web design projects.

You can't even tell what this "digital painting" looks like, with the words over the image, but I don't mind. Sharing a glimpse of the textures and colors is, for me, enough. Just as working on it again this morning was exactly what I needed to get me back on track with my work. You know - the work that pays for my plane tickets and sushi and flip flops.

Even though my website design collaborations generally please me a great deal, I've been noticing more and more resistance to work lately. And finally it hit me just how important it is to find outside outlets for my own creativity. Making art that doesn't have anything to do with my clients' website visions? It makes me more effective when I work with the people who put their Squarespace projects in my hands and ask me to help them turn those ideas into reality.

And so I bought some watercolors. Some more watercolors, that is. The ones in my studio have never been opened, and so I bought more and brought them home. Then? Then I painted. In spite of the fact that my art minor only ever happened in the first place because I got enough credits in photography and ceramics courses, I've never learned to draw or paint. Which is completely irrelevant, for the moment. I just turned off my inner critic and I painted 5 full watercolors. Are they beautiful? Are you kidding me? I'll show you soon, and you'll see what I mean. But beautiful watercolor paintings were never the point. The point was to get some color and some texture on the page. Then one day I'm going to tear them up and use them for something else: the mixed media pieces I've begun working on.

But this morning? This morning I decided to pass on painting a sixth watercolor page. This morning I resumed work on this digital image I excerpted for you at the top of this post. It's been in process for more than a month, but mostly I've just looked at it on my desktop where I'd turned it into a wallpaper. So I wouldn't forget how important it is for me to keep working on this piece. And so for weeks, I see it every day, remembering that there are things about it that were wrong. But better than that? There are many things I love... that are quite right. And I have work to do.

A fine art painter I know said to me, "That you can do this digitally makes me very nervous, as a traditional painter." He, of course, was looking at the big picture, not the text-overlaid-snippet you have above you. I have to tell you: it was one of the finest compliments I've ever received. It spurred me on, with the knowledge I would continue to make it better.

So this morning I worked on it again for an hour, and then? Miraciously, I started loving my job again. Every client who called delighted me. Every idea. Every question. Every suggestion: they all thrilled and engaged me. Once more I wanted to help other people realize their visions. Because it's what I do. And I'm good at it.

I'm convinced that the only reason my work has moved with the flow that it has today because I've started devoting more time to making my own art. So I'm going with that. And I'm going to keep it up. Can't wait to see where it leads...