Have you ever wanted to paint or create or draw or write…

…and someone told you that you shouldn’t?

Someone told you that you weren’t good enough.

Or talented enough.

Or creative enough.

Or capable enough.

Someone who may or may not have known anything about anything told you to start again and hide your light under a bushel and rethink what you were thinking and go back to the drawing board.


Then this story is for you.

See the stool right there on the left?

It was my grandmother’s.

She lived her life during a time when pearls and cocktails and poodle skirts and supper dances were a thing.

Her hair was cut in a perfect bob and she teased up and wore cat glasses and drank Tab like it was water and looked like a movie star.  She had a smile that lit up a room and a laugh that made you giggle and she was funny and witty and beautiful and knew how to rock a pair of capri pants and a set of rhinestone earrings.

She lived her life in panoramic color with extra sparkles…

…and she loved red lipstick.

But underneath the red lipstick and country club dinners and tea parties and supper clubs—underneath all the glitz and the glamor way down deep in her soul…

…she was an artist.

I discovered a stack of canvases tucked away in the very back corner of the attic at our beach house.

A little forlorn.

A little forgotten.

A little tattered and torn.

There were beautiful, incredible, amazing pieces she painted of the dunes and the sunsets and the jetties and the ocean at the Cape.

I never really knew she was an artist.

I never really knew she even painted.

But once I saw those canvases in the attic—I met a part of my grandmother I never knew.  It was as if those paintings were a glimpse into her soul.

Those were canvases? She painted them simply for herself—softly and quietly without fanfare or showiness.

You could almost hear the whisper in every brushstroke.

You see–she never really talked about her art.

I don’t know why.

Maybe someone told her she wasn’t a good painter.  Maybe someone told her that her sand wasn’t grainy enough or her ocean wasn’t blue enough or that she didn’t use the right technique or she needed to paint the sky in vivid hues instead of soft, gentle breezes.

Maybe someone told her she wasn’t enough.

But she was.

And with every amazing brushstroke, she drowned out the naysayers.

She painted anyway.

She sat on this stool and painted because she couldn’t help it.  She had to create because she had art and painting and creative inspiration running through every vein.

This was her painting stool.

Every drip.  Every drop.  Every scratch and dent and rough edge and splatter were hers.

Every dream.  Every brushstroke.  Every line.

It was her legacy.

There’s such a life lesson in those long ago drips on this rough and splattered stool.

And the lesson is this…

When life tells you that you can’t.

Don’t listen.

You CAN.

When life tells you that you are not enough.

Don’t pay attention.


When life tells you to hide your light under a bushel and put the paintbrushes away.

Pick up a brush.

And PAINT your heart.

You got today rock star.  Truly.

PS I’ll share some of those beautiful paintings soon.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Karen Mary Miles Karen Mary Miles

    "Being good at things isn't the point of doing them." (Kurt Vonnegut) We need to paint and dance and sing and play a sport not because we'll excel but because the act enriches us. Whether or not she was a spectacular painter, your grandma must have known this. I want my grands to learn this. Thanks for sharing! OX

  2. Image for Kim Kim

    What a sweet story and how wonderful that you discovered another side of your grandmother. Great message for all of us. Am curious to see at least one of her paintings!


    I knew you were going to write an inspirational story. 💞 There are people who are jealous of our talent and make us think hmm maybe I'm not as good as I think I am. Don't listen to them..it is hard but keep on being your creative self. If it makes your heart sing ..do it.. When life is hard ..I always do creative things.. it makes me feel better. It makes me happy. It makes me a better person. Thank you for your lovely stories..ps can't wait to see your Grandma's pictures... I'm sure they are lovely..I love your pictures of the Cape...it is a magical place.❤

  4. Image for Kris Kris

    Eagerly awaiting the viewing of the pictures. I love seeing people's creativity. This is a good reminder not to wound the soul of someone's project or creative performance .... it's part of who they are and who they are becoming.

  5. Image for Va in NC Va in NC

    A beautiful story...and so glad you have the stool with all the paint drips on it. And maybe that is where you get your love of painting furniture, etc. and maybe the red lipstick also. Love you and all the stories you share. Thank you.

  6. Image for Robin Plummer Robin Plummer

    Thank you for this sweet story about your darling and beautiful grandmother. You discovered a real family treasure when you found her stool and her paintings. Don't we hope that our grands will have curious minds about our lives one day? I have always wanted to paint and didn't think that I was good enough but it's like when you learn cursive writing, we improve with lots of practice and we find our signature and it ours and ours alone. I have been painting for over a year and I love painting flowers and painting with my 4 and 5 year old grandchildren. We have the best times together and our souls sing with happiness. May you continue to find many more surprises through out your lifetime and please keep sharing your sweet stories.

  7. Image for LeAnne LeAnne

    This is so good. And it goes for writing too! Don't listen to critics who may or may not know what they're talking about. If you want to create, if you want to write, do it anyway.

  8. Image for Theda Theda

    A beautiful story! I'm looking forward to the post of your grandmother's paintings. And, as always in Karianne style, thanks for the encouragement and inspiration. You're the best!

  9. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    What a beautiful story. I hope those canvases were moved to spaces to remind those who enter that beach house of her…thank you for continuing to speak into my life…in ways you have never know. I’m thankful…keep on speaking!

  10. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Love this. A few years ago I came across one of those tiny little notebooks that insurance offices and banks used to give away. It was filled my grandmother's writings about her first year of marriage to my grandfather, and a little beyond. He was diagnosed with TB on their first anniversary. I wouldn't take ANYTHING for that. I hope you never paint the top of that little stool! It's perfect!

  11. Image for Jerry Stocks Jerry Stocks

    Can’t wait to see the paintings. Please also post a picture of your grandmother. She must have been one amazing lady. I grew up in her era and now paint.

  12. Image for jbcollinsmeme jbcollinsmeme

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about your grandmother. I would not only love for you to share her paintings with us, but also a photo of her. She has won my heart!

  13. Image for Gretchen Z Gretchen Z

    Beautiful and inspiring post today, KariAnne. A profound lesson in so many ways. I’m thinking (and hoping) your grandmother’s talent was her own special secret, a love she reveled in and enjoyed all the more because it was just hers, but left purposely behind for you to enjoy. Thank you !

  14. Image for Marlene Marlene

    I can only imagine the joy you had at finding those paintings. Thanks for sharing with us and will be so fun to see what she created. Enjoy the moments you sit and look at those wonderful pieces of her heart.

  15. Image for Susie Susie

    Some days, if I’m being honest, I just skim over your posts, but not today, I sat quietly and read each and every word, and then I let them seep in. I needed this today. Thank you, you are inspirational and that truly is a gift. Blessings ♥️

  16. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    What a lovely story. I am a visulizer, I could see her just painting away and escaping from reality as I read your lines. Here's to all of us beautiful creative grandmothers everywhere. Take a bow. Thank you so much for sharing.

  17. Image for Teresa Teresa

    Oh be still my heart! This is absolutely precious and on top of that truly touched my heart. I can’t express in words the profound encouragement this is for me. Bless you for sharing.

  18. Image for Katy Katy

    So uplifting KariAnne! When our days are crowded with troubles, bad news and anxiety, we need to hear messages of hope, light and possibilities. You’re a fabulous storyteller and this story leaves a smile on my face. Goodness is still out there and needs to be shared. Thanks GF! Hugs! Katy

  19. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    KariAnne, I look forward to seeing your grandmother’s paintings, she sounds amazing just like her granddaughter!

  20. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    I’m waiting with bated breath to see what that magnificent women painted. What a wonderful keepsake is that stool. Even Picasso didn’t know he could paint a Picasso until he did. There are several genres of art I do and while I may not excel at them, I do them anyway... just for me and my soul.

  21. Image for Cindy Cindy

    This is a beautiful post and tribute to your grandmother. Having tge precious stool she sat on to paint her vision is PRICELESS. You spoke to my heart and soul today. Never get stuck thinking we aren't good enough!

  22. Image for Deb Stought Deb Stought

    If I never got any creative ideas from your blog, it wouldn’t matter to me. I love, love, love to read what you write! You are a creative, beautiful, expressive, honest writer and such an easy read. Thank you for making my day!

  23. Image for Nancy carr Nancy carr

    I love your grandmother. I wish I had known her. I feel we are kindred spirits. Your depth and words move me often. You are loved and appreciated.

  24. Image for Crystal Crystal

    Beautifully written KariAnne. I think the worst thing about this is that I am the one who tells myself I am not good enough...you know just ok, and so many are better so why bother. Just get a real job and stop dreaming. It is the worst when that voice comes from within.


    Thanks, KariAnne for that precious story about your Grandmother and her art. How great for you to find these in the attic at your lake house. That stool is precious! I know that each time you look at it, you have precious memories! You are such a special gal and are loved so much!

  26. Image for Joanne Joanne

    Hello Karianne! Once again, you got me with yet another meaningful post. Tears streaming down my face. What a touching and absolutely beautiful story. I truly needed this today. Thank you for sharing . I look forward to seeing her paintings.

  27. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    What a sweet story. Those are the items I choice when my grandparents passed. The items that reflected what their true light was. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Image for Debbie King Debbie King

    What a WONDERFUL tribute to your sweet, loving, beautiful and talented grandma. You found a piece of her soul. Bless her and bless you, Karianne. 💖

  29. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    So wonderful! Such a great tribute to your grandmother. And you are soooooooooooooo like her, right down to the red lipstick! 😍

  30. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Thank you for the beautiful words of encouragement. I can picture your wonderful grandmother. I can see her beauty and feel her vivacious spirit. I can’t wait to see the paintings.

Comments are closed.