Serendipity…have you experienced it? If so, do you brush it off as a crazy coincidence?? I’ve come to appreciate the small miracles in life that some might call coincidental. I call it serendipity, and when it happens, I try to pay attention .
I was raised with the tradition that prayer has power, and over the years I know it’s true. Time and again life has shown me that thoughts seem to have an influence on events. Just the right person, or just the right thing has come along at just the right time all too often to call it random or coincidental.
I’m currently on a trip that is bringing back memories. I’m here in Philadelphia at the Museum of Art, and will be enjoying a day at the exhibit of American Watercolors in the age of Homer and Sargent.
My relationship with Sargent and his work feels very personal. The art gods, the universe, or whoever governs serendipity, definitely sent me a message through Sargent’s watercolors at the beginning of my journey as an artist. The message was,” Pay attention and keep going. You’re on the right track.”
Here’s a little story for you…
To learn something new, I like to find someone who is an expert at what I want to do, and then imitate them. For me, it’s a great place to start. Over the years, I’ve copied many other artist’s work. By doing so, I’ve learned a great deal about how to handle my materials and achieve the effects I want. When I started with watercolors, I began by copying Sargent’s work. I was brazenly trying to emulate the best.
After spending hours and hours on the painting above, I happened to travel to Venice, Italy with my family. Late in the day one afternoon, my husband came back to our hotel room and said,” You’re never going to believe this, but there’s an exhibition of Sargent’s Venetian watercolors at the museum here!”
He was right. I couldn’t believe my luck, but I ran to the museum! There I found a collection of privately owned paintings by Sargent on display.
As I walked around the collection, I was in awe. The paintings were even more beautiful in person than I expected. That’s always the case. Photos never do paintings justice.
I rambled around, and then I was stopped in my tracks…There was the very painting I had spent hours trying to copy right in front of me! I was dumbfounded! How could it be that this painting was here at just the same spot on the planet as me? Neither one of us belonged there, and yet our paths were crossed. It was beyond belief!
I stood in front of that painting as long as I could. It looked totally different than it had online. The colors were more vibrant and the details revealed techniques I hadn’t appreciated in photos.
I felt as if I was given a personal gift that day. It was almost like heaven reached out to say,” Pay attention. Your desires and efforts have been noted, so keep going! You’re right where you need to be and you’re on the right track…”
I did pay attention, and thankfully I’m still going! Feeling grateful for the many other moments since then where serendipity has encouraged me to continue along this creative path.
Have you had moments like that in your life? Moments when you received just the right message at just the right time? An opportunity that came knocking just as you needed it? Perhaps it was a person who held just the right key to open a door for you…
I don’t think I’m unique or special in saying that my life is filled with these kind of moments! What I am is a believer that thoughts and dreams have power. Our thinking is an influential component of our reality. I don’t think it makes me superstitious or naïve to believe this.
Carl Jung built a career and a place in history exploring the relationship of dreams and reality.
In fact, I was really fascinated to read that this type of phenomena was studied by Jung. He and Nobel Prize winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli were both fascinated with the concept of events being influenced by thoughts. They corresponded over the years about this very subject. In fact the term “serendipity” is attributed to Jung.
These guys were no mental midgets, so if you believe in serendipity, you’re in good company! Here’s an article discussing Jung and Pauli’s dialogue on the subject if you’re interested in reading more.
What’s the take away? For me, it simply confirms the need to reach for your dreams. Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you Working.” My twist on that phrase would be,
“Serendipity is real, and will meet you as you move in the direction of your dreams.”
Keep dreaming and creating with me, and I’ll look forward to celebrating the small miracles that will surely meet us along the way…Love, Rebecca
Here are some favorite watercolor paintings from my visit today. All are part of the exhibit of American Watercolors in the age of Sargent and Homer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
These 3 paintings are by Maurice Prendergast. I’ve always loved his oils, and seen many of them in the Barnes Collection, also located in Philadelphia. It was a surprise to learn that he was very well known as a Watercolorist before painting in oil. I loved these!
Ps- many of you are aware that I’m hoping to create an online course over the summer. Please think about giving me your input and as a thank you, I’d like to send you my 10 Secrets to Painting Success. I also will enter your name into a drawing for a free class if you leave your email address. I look forward to learning more about YOU!! ❤️🎨💕
Here’s a link to the survey: Rebecca’s online course survey