When I tell people that I paint, they inevitably respond with, “Oh, are you an artist?” Am I an artist? The temptation is to not claim that identity until I’ve reached some future level of Monet-esque expertise. My first responses to that question were along the lines of: “No, no, I’m just learning to paint in my spare time,” or “Hah, no, not really. I just like to paint.” Now I just say “Yes” and let it hang. In the silence that follows that proclamation I find many internal voices vying for supremacy: “Who are you kidding?” “You’re an imposter!”… and “Yes, you are an artist.” That last voice started out very weak, but it has been gaining strength.

Quick background to show how not-an-artist I’ve been. I graduated college with civil engineering and German degrees and then served 6 years in the Navy as a civil engineer. When I left the Navy (in 2000), I got a great job at a consulting firm and re-made myself into an education consultant, eventually earning a masters degree in education. But as a consultant and eventually manager in the world of corporate America, I let myself be consumed by the management/consulting trifecta: travel, email, and meetings.  I slowly grew to realize that I had let large parts of myself go dormant. I could handle crises at work, make a sale, manage people, and maximize my frequent flyer miles and hotel points, but I had ignored my internal world. As a consequence, my relationships, my sense of community, and my work suffered.

I took up watercolor painting in the fall of 2010 as one part of a strategy to re-birth my spirit and balance out the darker side of the consulting lifestyle. It’s working. Giving voice to my right brain brings balance to the strong left-brain demands of the business world, and I hope even enhances what I can bring to clients and colleagues.

And that’s why I started this blog. I know I’m not the only person out there who is embarking on this journey of living into being an artist amidst competing demands. I’d like to share my experiences, and in so doing, validate what others might be going through and also hear from those who are on a similar path.

I’d love to hear about your journey!

David Ronka

12 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi David, I enjoyed reading your blog and I too am on a similar journey to try and awaken my creative side and balance out my career vs creativity! I too recently went on business trip, packed in my watercolour moleskin and my travel kit, but unfortunately was not as disciplined as you and only managed one painting. I tend to lean more towards art journalling, (because it is easier!), but you have inspired me and today the moleskine and my watercolours are coming out. Thankyou.


    • Yvonne – Thank you for your encouraging words! There are so many times when I’m travelling (or at home, for that matter), that I choose the “entertain me” option rather than doing something that will contribute to my growth. I’ve often regretted turning on the TV, but I’ve never regretted doing a sketch or painting. Painting grounds me in the moment and provides a permanent memory of the specific time and place. And I love flipping through my sketchbook periodically. I’m glad we could be mutually encouraging to each other — we need community (even if it’s virtual) to become and remain inspired.


  2. I understand your dilemma about the “are you an artist?” question. I’ve returned to watercolors and drawing after a nearly 40 years break in which I only did photography. While my watercolor skills are not so great, I can recognize I DO have an artist’s eye, a way of seeing and composing that is different than the average non-artist. So I’m working at following my latest watercolor teacher’s recommendation and doing as you’ve done, just say “Yes”.! Best wishes, Kate


    • Yay, MK! So glad there are others out there who are following their hearts. The world needs more people who are willing to put themselves out there, especially people who see things in their own unique way.I checked out your blog and love the paintings you’ve done. For others who want to check out MK’s work: http://redharparts.wordpress.com/


  3. You are an artist!!!


  4. dear David,

    you are really the ARCHITECT of your life.


    Like birds...


    • Salem – Thank you for stopping by. I visited your flickr site and I love the way in which you’ve captured so much of life in your photos and drawings. I’m inferring from your drawings that you are an architect.



  5. David, I enjoyed reading your ‘about’ I’ll be keeping an eye out for your continued success.


  6. David, you might enjoy my dear friend, Karen Miraldi’s approach to painting. She is also a transformational life coach, a Women of Color Painting workshop leader. (I took her first ever several years ago and LOVED it.) She is guided by intuitive process and works with her unseen guides, as I suspect other creatives do. In her workshop, we actually dialogued with our subject to see what it wanted. We started with a visualization and writing out intention out on the canvas. It had been over 30 years since I’d picked up a brush and paints. Oh how I loved it. Guess this is my reminder to play with paints some more! Thank you for your inspiration and sharing. (her website is HeARTfully Living dot com.)


    • Thank you for your thoughts, Lisa. I’ll check out Karen’s website. I really like the idea of dialogue with the subject — it opens up space to listen and sense and see. That’s what I love so much about art, especially when created on the spot — it opens up my senses and helps me to be more fully present to what is, rather than my interpretation of what is. So, you have the reminder to play with paints… Now it’s time to set the intention to do so. 🙂


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