Respecting The Life We Have Been Given

Still life: study of vase, tomato, garlic and spider scorpion conch.

Recently I read blogger Maria Mankin’s review of a book The Accidental Athlete, whose chubby author started running only at 43 after a life of too much eating, drinking and smoking. He is in his 60s now and still running. This is Maria’s take:

“His book was a constant reminder to me of why I run. I run because even though I’m not good at it, it makes me feel good….Bingham’s story made me feel like I don’t have to get any better – not to enjoy running, not to be considered a runner – because I run, I’m a runner, and that’s final. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in back of the packers improving; he’s done it, and I know I eventually will too. It’s more that he has captured, for me, the essence of running – that it’s an expression of strength and joy and respect for the life I’ve been given.”

Though running has seemingly little to do with drawing and painting, this made me smile.

Before corrections by teacher, who had helped me paint the tomato and garlic. I found the subtlety of the garlic to be especially challenging.


I will continue to draw and paint even though I am not good at it, just simply because it makes me feel good. I paint simply because of the artist in me. The essence of painting is an expression of joy and beauty and respect for the life that I have been given.


I will continue to write even though I am not good at it, just simply because it makes me feel good. I write simply because of the story-teller in me. The essence of writing is an expression of insight, clarity and beauty, and respect for the life that I have been given.

Isn’t that just wonderful?

Have you given up something you used to love because you felt you were not good enough, or will never get good enough? Try superimposing that on the paragraph.

It works like magic.

It would make you smile too.

After correction.

Pastel version by my beloved, after correction.

4 thoughts on “Respecting The Life We Have Been Given

  1. My dear Monica, the article made me smile too, art, which ever kind that may be, is totally different for everyone. It is so subjective and what you find amazing I might find horrendous! so it is what it is, just enjoy the process and love what your doing and most times you will be happy with result. Now I dont know if there is something wrong with photo loaded after correction but its all out of shape, for example the vase is too tall and slim where as your painting is much better In criqitue your shadows are missing a bit more depth and your modeling factors just need punching up a bit, but really in all it’s a really good little painting and I think you should feel really pleased with it.- i really like your beloved’s painting too much more ‘painterly’ and vibrant. good work 🙂 Keep at it Monica you are doing really great, Sandi 🙂

  2. Hi Sandi, thanks for your encouragement and also the critique which is appreciated! I am working on learning to see the light and shadow areas and be less afraid to paint. My teacher told me to be bolder as I am too tentative….afraid to ruin the paper and the drawing…fear of a pristine sheet of paper haha. I will keep at it, and also keep enjoying myself. Thanks!

    • Hi Monica, I totally agree with your teacher in respect that your a little subtle, afraid to be bold and go to far and ruin what you’ve done. Well this is EXACTLY my problem area too. I don’t know an artist who isn’t afraid of a blank piece of paper its the most intimating thing of all, how to start lol… and then you get so far where its totally recognisable but your just not sure what to do now…. the answer is always to take it further at least in my case. its the bain of my life. My teacher is always saying push the tones a bit more Sandi – remember your three values Sandi lol… so sweetie your not alone at all and I thats why I think our going to get there your work is lovely really it is so I’m glad you enjoy it. I look forward to seeing whats next! 🙂

      • Thanks Sandi for sharing what your teacher taught you. I will try to remember this : ) If you think about it, it’s really just a piece of paper and we can always start over, right?

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