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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com

Believe in yourself

Friday, October 25, 2019

Every Sunday at noon, Gideon and I visit with a dear friend in Berryville. It has become one of our favorite traditions ĖĖ no matter how the week will go, we know weíll kick it off with lovely conversation, lemonade and maybe even some kitty snuggles. You guys know I live for kitty snuggles.

The conversation varies week to week. Sometimes weíll talk about new developments in our lives, like when Gideon started his first full-time teaching job or when our old man cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Sometimes we talk about the past, like our different experiences growing up. And most of the time we talk about art in some form or fashion.

Our friend is an accomplished artist who has taught us so much about creating. She lives her life in color, from the color in her hair to the paintings on her walls. With her encouragement, Iíve learned to love painting. That would surprise many people who knew me before I moved to Carroll County. See, I used to think I couldnít make art. I couldnít draw. I couldnít paint. I couldnít design anything worthwhile.

ďMy stick figures donít even look like people,Ē I remember joking to friends in college when they asked if I planned on taking any art classes. I was convinced I couldnít do art, so of course I couldnít. That all changed two years ago. Gideon and I tried our hand at painting together for the first time when I discovered how expensive paintings are.

ďHey, we could just do it ourselves,Ē I remarked. Gideon painted a burned-out sun. I painted an abstract depiction of clouds. It wasnít the best painting, but I just loved how it felt to make it.

So we kept creating. Since late 2017, we have created more than 40 paintings. It started as a way to fill the white space on the walls in our apartment. Now we have more paintings than we do wall space. That means Iím constantly rearranging paintings and putting something new on display. One of my college friends called our home an art gallery a few months ago. I laughed it off at first, because I didnít consider myself an artist by any means.

But you donít have to be well-known to be an artist. I didnít quite realize that until our friend was telling us about her creative process one Sunday afternoon. She said she has worked on many pieces that didnít turn out how she had hoped. That never stopped her from creating, though, and it certainly doesnít make her any less of an artist. She taught me that art is not about perfecting every little thing all the time.

Itís a feeling you get when youíre creating and when you look at something someone else has created. If you make art, you are an artist. Iím so grateful to our friend for encouraging me to keep creating, because Iíve made a few pieces that surprised me ĖĖ I had no idea I could do something like that. It really helps you build confidence when you realize youíre capable of more than you ever expected.

Real talk: I am constantly struggling with the feeling that Iím not good enough, that I donít fit in. But I never worry about that on Sundays at noon. Our friend helps me see the good in myself. She helps me understand that I can do things I never imagined so long as I believe in myself.

She is unabashedly herself and, from what I can tell, always has been. What you see is what you get, and I happen to love that. To our wonderful friend, thank you for being there. You are a constant source of encouragement.

I can only hope to encourage others the way you do.