Before last week, the last time I attempted to paint was more than ten years ago. I was a lonely middle schooler who refused haircuts and I thought I was an artist. I dabbled in words, graphite, clay and paint in a desperate attempt to express myself. It was only after a few ruined canvases (and one bookcase) that I realized I was a writer, not a painter.

Some people are visual artists. They can create beauty from physical objects; with their bare hands. They can draw or sculpt or paint. It’s an amazing thing to watch. But I am not one of them. I craft words and spin stories.

Then, ten years after throwing out my brushes, I found myself involved in a church project to paint pieces to hang in the local men’s homeless shelter. And so, for the first time in years, I put a brush to canvas. I painted for two days in contemplative silence. It was peaceful and centering. The end result is no masterpiece, but I like it and I can’t help but think that I’d like to try again.

So often, we get discouraged by our early failures. Maybe if we stuck with it when others might quit, we’d discover talents we never knew we had. Pick up a brush or a pencil and give it a shot — you might just surprise yourself.

— 30 —

I’m a writer, photographer and connoisseur of art and pizza. I paint word pictures on Twitter, where you can call me @jonnyeberle. Thanks for reading!

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