Circles of Change:Conversations with Dr. Zara Larsen
on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment
February 22, 2009
“The Artistry of Straight Talk in Search and Searching”
Plein air (fresh air) painting was inspired by Monet and other French Impressionists at the time of the invention of paint tubes, allowing for freedom outside the studio.Plein air requires focus, editing, an ability to discard to prevent over crowding – a picture within a picture without the benefit of concentrated views.
I am an autonomous person, typically having been in charge as a 40-year veteran corporate management consultant and executive recruiter.Plein air painting is an outdoor community experience with an honest degree of different interpretation.I had to become open to critique and feedback.
Painting outdoors with shadow, light and values (which do all the work, while colors often get the credit) helped me become a better indoor painter.
Son of a hobby painter with a sister who is an accomplished watercolor painter, I did not discover my talent until I was approaching a planned retirement. Yet I suspect my right hemisphere bias of having empathy for people and organizations was at play amidst a more left business world.
I have resisted the opportunity to become a commercial painter in fear of the traps of production; but instead enjoy low volume work and selling my work through the Rogoway Galley in Tubac, and Verano Gallery in Bisbee.
It was my dream to retire at age 60, so following a dual career couple program led by a psychologist, I took a six month sabbatical to Tucson from Chicago to write a book, meditate, consider real estate – putting me in a healthy place to turn the key, close the door and move on in due time.
It was a wonderful feeling to say good bye to the profession on a high note, and writing a book was a good way to lay out what I have learned.Straight Talk captures my belief that Boards of Directors need to spend more time on the requirements for a new CEO, being objective enough to look 10-12 years out to match a future strategy.
Shifting to retirement required going from “Who’s Who” to “Who’s He” and coping with an unfilled calendar.Over time I came to put the ego aside and establish a new identity as an artist, or better yet, as just Fred!
In these nine years after retiring and becoming a painter, I have learned it is one thing to emulate your teachers and other great painters, and quite another to break away and become your own person, become liberated to fly on your own and do your own thing – that’s what is really important.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008