Hard Work Versus Talent

Franklin, TN. sketches of Tennesse ©yanuarynavarro

A lucky few have been gifted with effortless talent for their chosen craft or field. There rest of us have had to work tirelessly for decades and that is perfectly beautiful too.

I have been drawing and making pictures since I discovered that pulling a pencil or paintbrush across a surface was calming and kept me out of trouble as a kid. I simply never stopped.

I was terrible at it, making ugly whole-hearted little paintings. I have grown after years of devoted practice not talent and call myself an artist because I see it as a lifestyle. A commitment to live a creative life which in turn becomes a fuller life full of wonder, play, and intellectual curiosity.

Today, I think I am a confident painter rather than a skillful one. Time spent creating something of our own gives confidence to those of us who need it most regardless of what the final piece looks, sounds, or reads like it is never time wasted. It is time spent learning about all the potential burning inside. Or in the least it keeps us out of trouble by engaging restless energy in all of us.

Writing with pictures

Rubin and The Mango Tree, story by ©yanuarynavarro

Before he was Rubin the Mango Spirit.
He was Rubin, a little one.


Jotting a story down sometimes with pictures first, sometimes with words first. It’s always a different process with each story revealing itself in a different form. Just jot it down, scribble it down, make stick figures, whatever it takes so you don’t let it run away with whatever moments you have. Stories are impatient and temperamental they want to keep moving.

Art as Prayer

February Snow, acrylic on paper ©yanuarynavarro

Art is prayer. The voice of the spirit unveiling the heart. Sometimes prayer is graceful painted with gentle strokes of light. Other days the prayer comes out broken with a sorrow tinted voice; or no prayer comes to mind at all. Each color in the palette plays the murmur of a greater symphony waiting to be heard.

Back to traditional

Gouache and Watercolor on watercolor paper ©yanuarynavarro

Most of 2019 has been spent working on digital mediums. Learning new techniques using digital software and keeping my digital design skills sharp. But I have missed the feel of a pencil scratching the surface of a blank piece of paper.

The above painting was made using traditional materials. Gouache and Watercolor. Every time I look at it I am reminded of the tiny moments that came together to make this image. There is no going back once you start a watercolor painting. You have to commit or start all over again, and perhaps that is what I like about traditional media. The assertiveness it demands. That I had to just keep moving forward because the option to go back and erase was not available.

Enchanted Portraits & Decision Making

Queen Suya in the Cranberry Forest, Gouache on paper

I’ve had this drawing for a long time and it wasn’t until recently that I figured out how I wanted to finish it. The trouble with moving forward sometimes is the infinite choices and possibilities. How can we make it easier for ourselves to finally make a choice?

Setting specific limitations or project boundaries helps.

For example: Things that have helped

•Deciding to only work with a certain number of colors

•Making a time limit or “finish by deadline” regardless of what it looks like

• Choosing one subject matter to focus on

Fairy Book Club

A Fairy Library, 2018, Watercolor & Gouache on Paper ©YanuaryNavarro

Have you ever wondered what sort of mysterious happenings take place in the Florida swamp lands? I wonder all the time because one of the things that makes the state of Florida unique is that due to the weather it is the home to a highly diverse and extensive population of plants and animals. Including book fairies who meet in hollowed-out ancient Cypress trees and fill them with books.

Galactic Lands

Galactic Coral Island, watercolor, color pencil, gouache on paper ©YanuaryNavarro

Maria arrives at a mysterious island after being stranded for days. She cautiously inches closer to this floating land to take a rest from her long journey.