La Bella Luce Studio

Perfectionism and Doing It Scared

Misty Trees, Watercolor, Sold

Boy, that title just about says it all. I’ve just gone through that dreaded period in the life of a creative where the well feels like it had run dry. As a painter I had there is nothing quite as intimidating as staring down a blank, glaring white sheet of paper when you feel like you have lost all inspiration.

Judging by my email I can say with assurance that this seems to be a fairly common thing among those of us who create... be it painting a painting, writing a book or blog content, or composing a song... 

I’m going to be very transparent here. I was doing everything in by bag of tricks to avoid that sheet of paper that was staring accusingly back at me. I would “get” busy. If I’m busy, well, then I don’t have time to paint. There are too many other important things that need to get done! 

I had finally reached a point where the guilt from not painting had become so bad that I had to take a step back and re-assess. I had to get to the bottom of things and I decided to work with a mindset coach to try and figure out why I was trying to avoid doing something that I loved and what I discovered wasn’t pretty. 

One of the key insights that I learned is that it is not laziness or procrastination that was stopping me. It was...wait for it.... perfectionism. Yes, you heard that right. My artwork had gotten to the point where I was making good sales and had I put the pressure on myself to make every painting count. I no longer was painting for the fun of it anymore but for the market and a living. 

The fear of “getting it wrong”, screwing up and the prospect of what if the next thing I paint doesn’t even come close to being as good as the last thing that I painted was stopping me in my tracks.

I work in watercolor and those of you that know watercolor know that the odds of “getting  it right” (whatever that actually means) every time is pretty slim to none. And that concept of possible failure was death to the perfectionistic ego that I was starting to become a slave to.

“The Solution”

My coach said you simply have to “do it scared” and just show up. You can’t wait until everything aligns and the fear will  magically go away. It just doesn’t work that way. Just do it scared. So I did. And you know what? It works. It feels really uncomfortable at first but I had to give myself permission to be imperfect and do things imperfectly. And guess what? The fun came back.. it led me back into the fun of seeing what the paint could do and pushing the envelope. And the bonus some of those paintings that I considered "mistakes" sold right off the easel.

An Even Bigger A-ha

And from this came an even bigger a-ha moment when I realized that we aren’t just talking about about perfectionism in just painting anymore.

We were talking about life.

How do you handle that blank paper, canvas...sheet of paper and perfectionism? I'd love to know.

Leave your comments in the section below!

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It's Plein Air Time Again!

Althought I paint out during the winter nothing makes me want to paint outside more than warmer weather. Today's post will be short as there is a hawk sitting outside my studio window that is asking me to paint him! Photos of my new studio will be coming shortly! 

So without wasting any time, here is today's effort, 9 x 12 watercolor on Arches, 140 lb rough.

Happy painting!

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Where's the Peeps?

A much loved face from a really  fun perspective otherwise known as "The Mooching For Peeps Face".  

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Chilly Squirrel

This morning's little attempt. I sketched this little watercolor through my back door. With these super cold temps its just too freaking cold for the water not to freeze! Does that count as plein air? I tossed some sunflower seeds out to this chilly little squirrel and I worked quickly to capture him in the beautiful light.

Unmatted and unframed. Free USPS Priority Mail Shipping.

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A Fun Perspective

I have transferred the pencil sketch from the last post…here  to watercolor paper and I am thoroughly enjoying working on this painting. It's such a fun perspective of a really great mare who happens to love Peeps. This is the Peeps face!

WIP #1

First and lightest glaze.

WIP #2

Pushing some of the darks and some detail. When I start adding the darks the light just starts to appear out of nowhere

Stay tuned for updates!


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Sketching Out a New Painting

Playing around with sketches for a new horse painting. I'm thinking of going with this very familiar face from a fun perspective otherwise known as "The Mooching For Peeps Face". Not sure yet if this will be watercolor or acrylic.. 10 x 8 graphite sketch.

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Autographed Joe Montana Painting

My newest offering!  This is an autographed (by Joe himself!) watercolor paintng of legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana! Complete with Certificate on Authencity and a Hologram/Authenticity sticker on the paintng itself. This comes unmatted and unframed. Price includes shipping and insurance. 



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Beauty in the Storm

Beauty in the Storm

These types of paintings are the ones that I love to do the most. It is watercolor at it's best. Painted from my car during a Nor' easter, it's has joined the ranks as one of my favorites. 

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Alex Smith

Football season has the brushes flying! The watercolor depicts former San Francisco 49er turned Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback, Alex Smith. I think we can all agree that he is having an amazing season! Great holiday gift idea for the football fan!!

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Chilly Morning

This is an early November morning's quick, little sketch done en plein air. Chilly!!!

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Back to painting my other favorite subject which is horses. One on my favorite breeds of horses is the Thoroughbred and this painting is of of an event horse named Bailey who is owned and loved by a wonderful vet friend. I painted this mostly wet on wet simply dropping in color and allowing  the pigments mingle. So much fun to paint this way! This painting already has a home but I'd be happy to create a painting for you!  Drop me an email at

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Playing With Watercolors


 When you paint for a living it sometimes takes an icky painting day to get you to break out of work mode and just play with the paints again and that is exactly what I did this week. Just freaking played. And playing is fun. So that means work is fun!  I set the timer and did some more timed sketches of one my favorite subjects - NFL Football. When the timer goes off it's done. No chance to muck it up, or dab, dab, dab, dab... paint and go. And *that* for me is what watercolor is all about. Spontaneity, freshness, deliberate and confident brushstrokes.. And sometimes when I'm working on a big project or a commission I forget that and end up in it muck- it-up-land. Doing that more thing.... which usually is the kiss of death for a watercolor painting. 

     I taped off a sheet of watercolor into approximately 6 x 5 rectangles and went through my wonderfully extensive football reference photo library. Wonderful because I took the photos myself! 
I did contour drawings and then had at it..  Simplicity is the name of the game, basic shapes and suggestions and just let the eye fill in the details. It really is a great exercise to make me stop thinking to much and just let my instincts take over. And did I mention it's fun!
First attempt 20 minutes... okay 22 minutes because Eli's helmet needed a tad more of detail.  Keep in mind too that these are bit larger than the originals.
Quarterback Eli Manning of the New York Giants

Next came Frank Gore from my favorite team the San Francisco 49ers. I gave myself 30 minutes with this but it was actually too much time. I started to fuss with it so for the next one it's back to 20 minutes. I may do a larger version of this one.

     And finally another 49ers painting... Vernon Davis who is himself and artist and actually owns an art gallery. Check it it out here. With this one it was back to 20 minutes again. And I 'm quite happy with the result. Mission accomplished!

All of these are available for purchase! First emails to me at gets them. $60 each~ How fun would these be for stocking stuffers? 

     And speaking of stocking stuffers I am booking for those holiday commissions and this year I am adding NFL paintings to the list! So if you have a dog, horse or football fan ( and who doesn't?) then a commissioned portrait would make a treasured gift! I can do watercolor or acrylic on canvas.  The process is super easy to get started. Drop me an email if you have an interest!

Have an awesome day!


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Quick Little Sketches

Having a bit of an icky painting day, finding myself getting bogged down in too much detail. So to loosen up I decided to tape off 5 x6 squares and do some really quick, timed watercolor sketches. Twenty minutes.....that's it. That's all she wrote.. Here's the first one.... now for some chocolate.. and then onto the next...

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Completed Football Painting _ San Francisco Forty Niners

49er's Defense

 My painitng of the San Francisco Forty Niners Defense is finished! All matted and framed in a gorgeous gold  frame. I've blogged about the process of this painting. You can follow these links to see more.

Step One

Step Two

This one will be avaialble for sale. Details to follow on my website or drop me an email at for more info! 

I'd love to know what you think~ Feel free to post your comments down there in the comments section.

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Horse Work In Progress

    I currently have six paintings going right now It's amazing what feeling inspired will do for you! Three of them are horses and since you have asked here is a Work in Progress of one of them. I won't be divulging the name or final of this boy until it goes to it's new home. 
Step #1

    The sketch. I did several variations on the sketch and I like the composition of this one the best. I'm using Arches 300 lb Hot Press with a very smooth, bright white paper and is probably one of favorites because it is very suited for the way I like to work. This piece measure 14 x 11.
Step #2  
     Laying down the lightest glazes first and saving the white of the paper.
Step #3

     Starting to lay in the darks and modeling the musculature. As soon as I start adding some of the darkest darks the light seem to appear from nowhere. 
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Holiday Portrait Gift Commissions

      The holidays are right around the corner! Time to start thinking about commissioning those holiday portraits. I've already have a few spots spots booked! If you are thinking of giving the gift of a horse, dog or NFL football portrait/painting, please, don't hesitate to contact me. The process is super easy to get started! For more info drop me an email at

Have an amazing day!


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