Crossing the Chasm: My Lean in Story!

"Crossing the Chasm", oil on canvas, 18" x 24" ©2013 C.Proppé
April 13, 2013

Life is moving along and the presence of motivation with execution of my desires is HIGH.  Motivation to visit San Francisco and explore new places, motivation to revisit old friends and a gather them with new ones, motivation to find new, meaningful work and help others, motivation to provide the best life for my sons, and motivation to add true meaning to my paintings (rather than just recreate a moment in time plein air work).  I am a logotherapist's dream.  Go, girl!

So, I share with you the latest painting (above) that will be present at the Marin Open Studios 2013 opening Gala on April 27, 2013, from 5-8pm.  This painting is something a bit new for me, but I am embracing the challenge.  I have hit a turning point in my life, where I will soon be "leaning in" and raising my sons as a single mom(which is going to be a great thing, after too many years of waffling with the decision).  I have also recently separated from a job where I really enjoyed the work.  So much change at once is really exciting, and has lead me to come up with new ideas for my art.  I have always wanted to create art that provides a vision or a statement, not just a representation of a moment in time.  The problem for me is that when I have done this in the past, I have never liked the results.  At Colby, I recall painting a still-life that was supposed to be all about the life of Sylvia Plath.  I remember painting open medication bottles, a Bell Jar, and an open oven door, all in a kitchen setting... it was awful.  I don't know what happened to that painting, but someone might have liked it.  My attempts in undergraduate and graduate art programs to illustrate things that I was not drawing from directly were weak, in my opinion, and I believe this has kept me working as a plein air artist and one who copied from nature or photos in the studio.  This painting (above) is a comment on my place in the world, and a new method of painting for me.

I have had a photograph of a cyclist crossing the bridge for months now, but I have been frustrated with my painting because I want to reach a point where I don't paint every single detail I see before me, and I focus on something I really want the painting to be about.  "Crossing the Chasm" finally hits the mark for me, because the photo had so much more detail that I really liked, but it is not what I wanted to convey... so I left out the extra details, such as the lights on the bridge and the 45 mile per hour speed limit sign (I may eventually paint another one with these details, but I am happy with the results of this simpler version).  The title comes from a book written in 1991 about marketing high tech to the mainstream market.  I have been reinventing myself and taking training classes to improve my own design skills this month, and this marketing title intrigued me.  I was also brought to the attention of an amazing book by a local educator, Charles Sheppard.  "Save Your Drama for Your Mama" will assist businesses and individuals to learn leadership skills.  The combination of learning so much about marketing, reading Sheppard's new book, revisiting Victor Frankl's classic, and being in the current place and time in my life to receive all this input, have launched me in a new direction with my painting and life.  I painted the road green in order to speak to "green technologies" and green paths of transportation(such as cycling).  I also added the long hair to the cyclist and tried to make it look like a female cyclist, when the image I was using was actually male.  I am working on change and leading myself to greener pastures.
Art Prints

I love learning and growing... and here I go!  Lean in!  (check out for great, inspiring stories by women that have been appearing online along with the launch of the new book).

Update: May 19, 2015
It's amazing to look back on this post and see how differently my life has moved in two years. I pursued my interest in packaging design and have really enjoyed the work. Meanwhile, I have painted less, and been okay with it. I feel like I am in a great place of gathering inspiration and will be happy to integrate my fine art into the equation when I am ready. As you can see from the link on the left, I actually did go back and update the painting with the details. I added the 45 on the Bridge, the lights and the tiny circles from the bolts all along the base. I still own this painting and it is significant to me because I painted it when I was 45 years old and was seeking to separate myself from my sons' father.  Although I have not been able to do so financially just yet due to the housing costs in Marin, I have been able to successfully co-parent with my sons' father for 2 years now.  We share a house, and share our children, but we do not do things together as a family.  It is still hard, but it is better for the kids because the time they have with one parent is more peaceful, with no arguing or frustrations.  They have one person to guide them, and not conflicting messages.  This works for us.  Whatever you need to do to parent children is important, and I believe we have improved things immensely for our kids by finding a way to co-parent.  I still miss having someone to really love, but I love myself more.  I have the best dog in the world, and I love my kids and my friends.  I feel better than I have in the past because I am not angry at my sons' father for not being able to be someone he is not.  I don't see him as "my partner" or "my spouse", but simply, "the father of my sons" who is trying to do his best for them in his own way.  There will be a time when I can move on and find a better match for myself, but for now, co-parenting has been really a blessing.  Learning to work with people you don't always like or relate to is a very important lesson in life.  We have to do it at work, and in business, so if I can do it at home it will only make me a better businesswoman and life partner for someone else someday.  Life goes on.  We keep the wheels rolling!

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