Art by T Kurtz

I am closing in on the end of my residency here at the School and I am amazed by what I have accomplished.  Dedicating 4 hours, 5 days a week has helped me grow in technique and ability. I look back on some of the work I was doing at the beginning of the year and I am in awe of what I have done since then.  I recently pulled work from one gallery because it was all from a very early time in my short career and the difference was night and day.

We are told over and over that hard work and dedication make a difference.  As a teenager, we would roll our eyes at our coaches and teachers who would chant that mantra at us.  Why does it take me turning 50 to find they were right?  I wrote two equations for myself:

1) Perseverance
Hard work

2) Courage

These are my mantras now.  I’m not going to chant them to anyone else.  I have a couple others that I have picked up over the years, but I won’t bore you with them.

The second equation might be a little hard to swallow.  Can we create our own luck?  I think we can.  Life doesn’t just throw up roadblocks, it also gives us chances.  The biggest obstacle to overcome is ourselves.  We fear putting ourselves out there.  My reasons have always been; I might look a fool, I might not succeed, I might fail catastrophically.  None of these things have ever killed me.  Now I must admit that I don’t ride bulls or bucking broncs, nor do I base jump.  There are some choices you can make that might kill you but when it comes to making your own luck?

I lied, I’ll share one of my mantras I picked up from someplace.  “Why do we fall down? So we can learn to get back up again.”  I told a young friend of mine once, “Learn to fail”.  I wanted her to learn how it felt and that you could get past it.  If you have never failed at anything, you will never learn to persevere.  You will never develop the endurance to succeed.  I will confess something too, while I sit and write these words; I feel anxious. These are scary concepts.  Being an artist means the buck stops at your feet.  It will be standing there breathing over the top of you, waving it’s horns and stomping it’s hooves.  It will challenge you to back down. Something to keep in mind, it is magnificent, and you may not have many chances to get that good a look at him again.

Learn the taste of failure, have the courage to eat dirt occasionally. You will be rewarded with luck because as you were standing up, dusting yourself off; luck arrived.  You are standing in the perfect position to take advantage of it.

For more of my writing, visit

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.