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Master Class - This is what I was meant to do, I am proud of this...

Do you remember the feeling of exhilaration when you mastered riding a bicycle? That sense of freedom, self worth and accomplishment that followed those scraped knees, embarrassing false starts, spills, and frustration. My sparkly banana seat bicycle with its flowing streamers gave me the freedom to explore a much larger world and control my own comings and goings. The process of desire to learn, followed by struggle, failure, persistence, recommitment to my goal and eventual success has been the key to every accomplishment in my life. Maybe it has been key to your success too.

Mastery, defined as a sense of competence and control over the forces that affect your life, enables you to weather negative life events and other stressful conditions. When you feel confident and worthwhile you are less likely to dwell on the negative or to withdraw from family and friends. As a high school teacher it became clear to me that mastery is a key growth stage for teenagers. Those students who are able to master a comprehensive knowledge or skill are more self-reliant and ready to navigate the world as adults.

Unfortunately many highly intelligent teens do not meet their mastery needs at school. Much of the current education process is cram-pass-forget. Students cram information into their short-term memory hoping to pass a test, and then forget the information soon after. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter what they get good at. What’s important is that they be good at something, that they enjoy it, see the value in it, and have others see the value as well. The process of acquiring mastery is universal and has certain universal benefits.

Part of the magic that happens when you pour your heart and soul into something that matters to you, is that you begin to discover your true self. As you dedicate your time and energy to a creative task you uncover what you are truly thinking and feeling. You find you must actively choose to spend your time there and avoid other tempting pursuits. By sacrificing for your craft you further define yourself in the larger context of the world.

While you may never become the Simone Biles of your chosen skill set, there will be moments of pure fulfillment when you finish a piece of work and step back to admire the beauty of it. When you take a deep breath and say to yourself “This is what I was meant to do, I am proud of this”, when you feel the creative power flowing through you and the certainty that you are aligned on the correct path, heading in the right direction.

Finally, the passionate pursuit of mastery has the added benefit of opening up related doors because when people sense your enthusiasm and witness your dedication, it’s only natural for them to spread your message. As your message spreads, new opportunities arise. You’ll have the chance to meet new people, apply for new positions, go to new places, and create new things. Learning how to learn is one of the greatest benefits of mastery.

This is why Art matters more now than it ever has. Art engages the whole heart and mind of the artist in a complex layering of skill and creativity. It requires years of dedication to achieve Mastery and to create Masterpieces.

Mastery is not easy. It is not simple or quick or painless. Even so, putting in effort and sacrifice for the pursuit of mastery will more than pay you back in self-discovery, fulfillment, and growth. I invite you to allow me to lovingly guide, support and accompany you in your pursuit of mastery in painting.


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