make art. transform life.

thoughts about creativity and  art:   live your life as your work of art.

Overcome old failures, observe & draw daily

I have always drawn and painted, so when I was a teenager, a neighbor commissioned me to create a portrait of her child. Taking a risk, I jumped at the challenge and went to work!

That portrait was rejected. 

Over the years, I have painted only two commissioned portraits,  each well received. However, I was not satisfied. I always felt that I needed to be more confident in my ability to quickly sketch and capture the unique characteristics of any person. I just accepted that it didn't come naturally to me. Crazy, right?

 I finally got up the courage to take a portrait drawing course in November and December. Astonishingly, in those two months, I had the pleasure of reaching my challenge! Now I look forward to creating a unique likeness every chance I get! It is a joy and a blessing that has spurred me to expand my art into other mediums and new subjects.  

Check these portraits out here! 

I am so glad I decided to face my fears and try! Can you think of something you would like to dare to try again? 

finding refuge

finding refuge   #0925   watercolor  © beth vendryes williams        1500.

finding refuge   #0925   watercolor  © beth vendryes williams        1500.

Listening to my inner voice during the process of art making

begins with wondering about how to deal with my heart, my art and what is happening around me. The daily patterns of life that I inevitably engage in a call to me for exploration.  I find they provide moments rich for reflection. The hours of the day progressively transform my bedroom, and the effect of light and shadow change me, too. Holding a cup of steaming café or tea stirs the senses with warmth, aroma and sharing thoughts. Taking a walk can allow me space to carefully observe in an open, non-dualistic way. Simple objects contain the history of the souls who touched, created and used them; the insistent patter of raindrops creates a cadence, inviting a meditative state. These are just some of the experiences I plumb to investigate the unopened treasures that we have strewn before us, every day!


I am strongly affected by the plight of the refugees in the world right now. My heart goes out to the souls who risk their lives as they leave a place that is unsafe for them. I wonder, can we even truly understand the depth of their fear, the sorrow of leaving a home, the pain of being hungry, the danger of running away? If they are lucky enough to make it out, many are turned away by a country or segmented in tents living in temporary camps for years!

Can I  ever understand? It certainly is easier to say they were “turned away by a country” rather than" I turned them away."  Maybe, I could help by holding them in my heart and thoughts as I learn more about what it means to be in need of refuge. 
I do need to make art. Is that where I seek refuge? 
Is that also where I can offer a place of refuge?

I do need to make art. Is that where I seek refuge?
Is that also where I can offer a place of refuge?
— beth vendryes williams

It appears so because I am compelled to return to my practice day after day. There is a source inside me where I go to create imagery that resonates with my soul. Now, I imagine the experience of finding “refuge” in my life. What would I do if I couldn’t create time and space to paint and draw? For me, creating is a “basic” need.

Without the opportunity to paint, I would feel bereft.  I need a place to shout with joy, to feel empathy with others and express it, admire beauty, recognize pain and sorrow, search for evidence of meaning in this life, far beyond manmade laws. I cannot hide this or pretend it is not there. It is my work, and I need to share it.

My art is saying “Look here, what you thought was nothing important, like sleeping, opens up worlds to you!". Deprived of sleep, you cannot concentrate. Taking time to assimilate your day and to allow your spiritual and physical body to rest, is essential for your sanity. The idea of restoring yourself, letting go, being quiet, recording dreams, creating patterns to invite sleep, deepens you to nurture a contemplative life. 
My practice involves observing such a simple habitual act, as if for the first time! I paint to discover, then honor, the dignity in an ordinary moment.    

My art is saying ‘Look here, what you thought was nothing important, like sleeping, opens up worlds to you!
— beth vendryes williams

 My dear readers, has something ordinary ever suddenly taken on a surprising beauty that you never noticed before? I look forward to your thoughts!