Rainy Sunday Morning



It’s early afternoon, on a cold, grey Sunday, and I am sitting at the kitchen table looking at a gorgeous bouquet of roses in red, orange, yellow and pinks.  I was given these last night at the Arlington Center for the Arts–where Camille Musser and I were the Honorary Chairs of their Annual Fundraiser.

 The theme of the event was Art as Transformation and I spoke about the need for all of us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones–to try to express something of what we feel, think or do, through the arts.  I feel, that if we are trying to encourage our children to draw, to make music, to paint, that we too, should be putting ourselves in the world in this way.  

And why don’t we?  Well, it is hard.  It is hard to be a beginner, to try to draw, to sing…we are so invested in the notion that only certain of us are talented.  We think that only those who are “the best” at something benefit from doing it.  The rest of us are content to be observers.  Also, even if we think we might want to capture a beautiful sunset in paints, we are afraid to appear foolish.  We are afraid that we will be laughed at, fall on our faces.

  And yet, trying to express our selves in these unfamiliar ways can make our lives so much richer, and possibly more joyous.  Even if we do fall on our face, even if we don’t produce an award winning drawing, if we continue to try, despite the initial failures and feelings of foolishness, then there are rewards.  I think, that, when one attempts to capture a feeling or a thought in paint, or music or words, that the very attempt, brings us closer to the source of those feelings.  The attempt to capture something gives us much more appreciation for the beauty of that thing.  And as so often happens, our attempt to capture the essence of a thing, or situation, falls far short of our conception.  And this too, is a good thing.  It forces us to confront our human-ness.  No one can continue thinking of themselves as superior when one continually fails to put forth one’s vision.  The artistic process keeps us humble.

Anyway, thank you, Arlington Center for the Arts!  A lovely community Arts Center, with classes for both children, and adults.  These are the places that nurture community and creativity.  And isn’t this better than isolation and destruction?

Pamela Tanner Boll


2 Responses to “Rainy Sunday Morning”

  1. Dear Pamela tanner Boll,
    I too am an artist and was sent your blog by another artist , Liz Perry. i connected with what you said. I teach workshops for adults knowing that some of them have never painted before . And they are taking that risk of failure that we all feel from time to time. i am always inspired by words from other artists One of my students gave me a quote written by Henry C. Link.
    “While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”
    Thanks for writing and congratulations on winning your award. I am sure that you are an inspiration to many!
    Karen North Wells

  2. Karen:

    Oh, I LOVE this quote!! One of my passions is how little room there is in our classrooms, boardrooms, and even bedrooms for failure, or for making mistakes. We view mistakes as punishable ofences–opportunities to tell ourselves that we are stupid, no good, RATHER than as a chance to learn and to self-correct. And we are so afraid of making mistakes, that we often prefer to stay with what we know….than venture into a new arena. And yet, how much more fulfilling when you do venture into a new arena–it is a time of growth, renewal and thus, the possibility of joy.

    thanks for writing, Karen!
    Pamela Tanner Boll

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