It’s amazing how travel can inspire you to do new things.

Last March, I did something that I had never done before, I went on a cruise by myself. For years, I was reluctant to cruise alone. I had traveled to Walt Disney World and to the Disneyland Resort many times by myself, but for some reason, just couldn’t pull the trigger on booking a cruise and sailing all alone.

I’m so glad I did! I was never bored, and I experienced many things that I may have not done if I were sailing with friends or family. I took a steel drum lesson, I went to the Everglades and saw alligators, and I also participated in a fun game of painting. I had not picked up a paintbrush (except for house painting chores) since I was in high school, WAY back in 1984. You can read about my painting experience here: Princess Cruises — Speed Painting with Watercolors. I had such a fun time! Sometimes, you really do need to take a step out of your comfort zone.

On September 22, 2019 I am cruising with friends and family on the Norwegian Bliss. We’ll be sailing round trip from Seattle to Alaska. It will be the first time I’m cruising with a group. (As you know I am a travel agent)

To thank everyone for booking and sailing with me on this first group cruise, I wanted to make something special for each cabin that is coming along on this adventure. But, what could I make?!? It needed to be somewhat affordable, and it needed to be easy to ship. (my clients are literally sprinkled all over the United States). Because of how much fun I had painting on my Princess Cruise, I decided that I would paint a picture of the Northern Lights (something that we are hoping to see during the cruise) for my co-adventurers. But, I haven’t taken an art class since the early 1980’s.  Ummm, can you say last century?!?. And, I wasn’t that good way back then. What was I going to do?

I went straight to YouTube. I honestly believe that you could learn how to do a thoracic aortic dissection repair if you searched long enough on YouTube.

Oh, look– I literally just typed in thoracic aortic dissection repair in YouTube’s search engine.  AMAZING.

That’s just the first page of a search result on thoracic aortic dissection repair. See. Learn heart surgery on YouTube! 😉

So, you don’t know how to make Beef Bourguignon? YouTube knows how.

Ok, you may not learn how to do heart surgery, but I felt like I might could learn how to paint if I applied myself.

After a bit of searching, not only did I find the PERFECT painting, I found someone who could teach me how to paint this beautiful painting. Enter The Art Sherpa, Cinnamon Cooney. What a great first name! After watching more than a few of her videos, I’ve learned her mom’s name is Ginger and she has a daughter named Honey. I just love those names.  Be careful, though if you watch her videos.  You WILL BE COMPELLED to go to Michael’s and purchase paint.  Honestly, I’ve watched a lot of her videos, I listen/watch while I work.  She makes what looks complicated very simple.  She has inspired me to paint more than just this one project.

Is there anything scarier than a blank canvas?

Maybe 24 blank canvases.

Ok. It’s not scary. The base painting is done. Next step: using a sponge. Sponges aren’t that scary.

Or, maybe they are.

Youtube…what do you not know?

The next step was what I was most looking forward to doing. Stars! I was going to paint stars!! Again, this reminded me of my March Princess Cruise when I went Stargazing for the first time. You can read all about that here: Stargazing at Sea. I wish I could paint stars all day! SO MUCH FUN! SO MESSY! I LOVED THIS!

Ok. I have to stop here. I did all of this before I went on my Adventures By Disney trip. I was terrified of trying to paint the actual Northern Lights. I probably watched Cinnamon’s video 30 times. I waited to do the “difficult” part when I got back home. I actually dreaded this part, and knew if I waited, I would have less time to procrastinate after going to Arizona & Utah.  Because I AM ON A DEADLINE.

When it came right down to it. The lights were relatively easy! Thanks to Cinnamon.

But, now I have to paint trees. I’ve watched Bob Ross paint trees for years. I didn’t think I could. Cinnamon proved me wrong. It did, however, take ages to paint the trees. I’ve been painting outside by the pool and it is now the rainy season in Florida! I’d get one or two paintings finished, and would have to put everything up when it began to rain.

Next, I had to sign them! But where? The paintings are only 8X10’s so there is not a lot of room. I tried using the blue paint in the corner, but it didn’t show up. I decided to use the “pink” and sign the back.


By the way, Quinacridone is now my favorite word.  I wish I could use it more in conversation.  It’s really hard to slip in, “One of my favorite colors to paint with is quinacridone magenta”.  Quinacridone.  Such a great word.  (Quinacridone magenta is the name of the “pink” paint.)  Oh, look!  I just used “Quinacridone” four times.  Now it’s five times.  🙂

Last step: Glazing. Having owned and operated a florist for 28 years, I know how to use spray paint. Easiest step!!

Voila! Art!

While I am not going to pretend that mine turned out as good as Cinnamon’s, I’m proud of the finished product. I hope my friends and family enjoy my work. It was made with with love. And fear.

And if you are curious, here’s how you make Beef Bourguignon.


Now, which painting will I keep?  After all, I’m sailing as well.  And, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff & Olaf need a great backdrop.


So,  all of this to say…

Step out of your comfort zone.  Take the trip.  Cruise alone if you’re single.  Find inspiration while stargazing during your next trip.  Take that early morning yoga class that your cruise ship offers.  Go to the Galapagos Islands, go to Antarctica, or Morocco.  Cruise down the Danube. Ride that camel, raft down the Colorado, do Halloween Horror Nights and embrace the chainsaw-wielding clowns. See the tree-climbing goats AND the green monkeys.  Pick up a paintbrush and paint your heart out.  Make some Beef bourguinon, wear a quinacridone magenta t-shirt (SIX TIMES!!) or learn how to play the violin.  (YouTube may be able to help you with that violin thing.)

“To travel is to live” Hans Christian Anderson