Day 5. Rise Above.


“Cheree” 24×24, oil on canvas $400.00 [creativ_button url=”″ icon=”” label=”Buy Now” colour=”blue” colour_custom=”” size=”medium” edge=”straight” target=”_self”]

In one of my favorite art books, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield describes resistance as the force that keep us from dong what we long to do– weather it is painting, writing, composing, or opening a new business venture. He explains that when we do overcome resistance people around us might not be immediately supportive or enthusiastic:

“When a writer begins to overcome her resistance– in other words, when she actually starts to write– she may find that those close to her begin acting strange…They are trying to sabotage her.” 

And Pressfield goes on to explain why: “The reason is that they are struggling, consciously or unconsciously, against their own Resistance. The awakening writer’s success becomes a reproach to them. If she can beat these demons, why can’t they? Often couples or close friends, even entire families, will enter into tacit compacts whereby each individual pledges (unconsciously) to remain in the same slough in which she and all her cronies have become so comfortable. The highest treason a crab can commit is to make a leap for the rim of the bucket.”

Cheree experienced exactly what Pressfield describes– spreading her wings and finding a less-than-supportive audience. I had the privilege of meeting Cheree through my part-time work with Painting with A Twist and was able to visit her studio in Ohio. It’s immaculate. I call it the magazine-ready studio. At every turn you can see the personal touches Cheree has added that make it unique, welcoming, fun.

Here’s her story:

Bravest thing I ever did? Open my own business (Painting with a Twist), after years of feeling inferior to almost every person I knew that had finished college and seemed to know more than me.

I had been treated less than quite often as it related to not earning my degree. But at fifty years old, I knew no one, including myself, had seen a fraction of what I was capable of, and I had to show everyone, mostly myself, that I was more capable than anyone suspected. It was a total leap of faith and huge risk since all I had was strong belief in myself.

I faced a lot of skepticism and was told again and again “you’re crazy”. I thought to myself, why are people so unsupportive and rude?! Then I realized, they fear someone actually stepping up to reach their goals – it forces them to reflect on their own achievements or perhaps lack of achievements.

Fast forward four years and two studios later, and these people actually treat me with deep respect and a noticeable difference. I proved myself to everyone, especially myself. But, it makes me also realize I’m the same person and shouldn’t have had to prove myself to earn this respect.

I always remember to look deep at people for not only who they are but what they may be someday and show them respect at the mere possibility they have —  I find building people up helps them get there much quicker!

I also no longer fear not having completed my degree– I feel accomplished and understand better than ever – with or without a degree – a person can be great.

Today’s painting pays tribute to Cheree and her boldness. I could think of no better image to describe it than a pelican in flight– soaring, reaching, and on a mission.



I absolutely still need your stories of bravery! E-mail me at [email protected].


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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

November 5, 2016

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