• Sue Steiner

Artful Living

Navigating Peaks and Valleys 

I had a tough day yesterday.  I won’t go into details but just suffice it to say in my non-art work life in a pediatric emergency room as a mental health tech, I am often witness to some of life’s tougher moments.  I find value in providing a calm, assuring presence and offers of appropriate comfort while maintaining healthy boundaries.


Being in an emergency room brings things into sharp focus.  Being an artist has allowed me to appreciate my sensitive nature but being in intense situations and being ‘sensitive’ doesn’t always go together.  It takes some real navigating to keep my bearings, I’ll be honest.  Painting, art, and my horses allow me to recharge and balance myself.  I would like to share with you some things I have learned. Since art is life, and life is art I will draw correlations between those two things and how they help me navigate life’s peaks and valleys.


I was reading an art blog article on the importance of lights and darks in painting.  First of all, the light and dark variations allow one to see the subject in a painting.  Imagine looking outside in thick fog.  You quickly lose your bearings because everything is the same light value.  In life, if our lives were always of the same intensity, it would be like living in a deep fog.  Just as in painting, the variation of peaks and valleys, lights and darks, create a structure in one’s life.  This structure could also be called ‘defining moments’.  A defining moment is a major event in a person’s life that reveals to them an important aspect of life or character trait that changes the course of their life. Dictionary.com defines it as ‘a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group,etc., is revealed or identified’.  


The birth of a child, the loss of a job, divorce, death of a loved one, a move to a new area can become defining moments in a person’s life.  It is those times you are jarred out of complacency with new revelations.  Events like these bring life’s priorities into sharp focus.  The event can be either positive or negative and have the same effect– the event changed something inside of you.  Whether the change in you is for the good or not depends on what you do from there.  That of course, is the hard part.  Do I let life beat me down or do I allow this event to shape me into a better person?

In an article, What are the Defining Moments in Your Relationship and Life?  Susie and Otto Collins write, “Find the lessons in your defining moments and open yourself up to valuing what they’ve helped you learn along the way– even if the biggest lesson has been what you do NOT want more of in your life.”  We can’t stop life from having highs and lows, but we can search for greater meaning in those events.   This doesn’t mean you have to put a positive spin on awful things that have happened… sometimes tragedies are just that- tragic.  But you can search, in the midst of the dark times, for some life lesson or bigger meaning in the event and use that to propel you into living a better life.




As I am writing this blog post, I am reminding myself to look at life’s challenges to be defining moments in which I can clarify my vision, my focus and my priorities in life.  I can keep myself open to God and a greater purpose.  I do not have to fear the dark because my light source is a consistent guiding force in my life.


Just as a beautiful painting needs variation, structure, and a light source, so does a beautiful life.

Create Your Beautiful Life! 

Inspired by a little toddler that helps me to keep things straight! 





Life is an Adventure! 

Here’s a little video clip to enjoy about Defining Moments. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/defining-moment/

Happy Trails!

Sue Steiner

Free Rein Art Studio


Find me on: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FreeReinArtStudio/ Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/FreeReinArtStudio Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/sue_steiner/ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/freereinart/ Twitter https://twitter.com/saveaface Website: https://www.horseartonline.com

#animalartist #peaksandvalleys #lightsanddarks #inspiration #artisticlife #animalandequineart

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© Copyright 2023. No animals were harmed in the making

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