Yes, You Read That Right

paint & networking night with trina turl
No I didn’t paint that! Trina did!

I’m not the artistic one in our family, not by a long shot. I struggle to draw a straight line using a ruler.  Pair that with a sister who is a legitimately next-level talented photographer and my lack of skills are even more obvious.  So why have I fallen in love with paint nights and how in the world does it relate to conflict resolution?

In July of 2020 I signed my sister and I up for a virtual paint night.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I was craving something outside of what had become the monotony of COVID life.  My sister and I did it together and we had so much fun!  We laughed a lot, especially at my painting.  Even though mine was terrible, I loved spending that time with my sister.  I loved doing something that had my brain working in a different way and I loved feeling connected to other people.

Trina and I wanted to create something similar, so we did!

painting of walter by sarah turl

I did paint this! For our first paint night we celebrated Walter’s 10th birthday!

Being the non-artist the plan was that I would facilitate conversation in the group while Trina would guide us through a painting.  As a mediator, facilitating conversations is my jam.  I figured that if I can do it with stressed out, hurt and frustrated people that I could do it with happy painters.

What I didn’t realize was that I’d recognize that those paint nights had more in common with conflict resolution than just me moderating the conversation.  I learned, that with some guidance and support I could actually create art!

People often tell me that they’re stuck in a conflict because the other person is the problem, that a solution is impossible, or that they can’t talk it out.  Then they give me side eye when I tell them optimistically that I believe that with some help, things aren’t impossible.  I don’t believe that because its some pipe dream of what the world can be, I believe that because I’ve seen it work.  Because I’ve worked with people through ‘impossible’ conversations.  I’ve seen people change conflicts though working one-on-one with me.

Yes, I DID paint this!!

Trina and I have now hosted 2 Paint & Networking Nights, and both times I’ve created art that I’m proud of.  When I look at it, I feel proud of myself for achieving something that I didn’t think was possible.  Are my paintings perfect?  Nope, not even close.  But they are better than I thought they could be, and they make ME happy.

That’s what can happen more often than not when we face conflict, when we have difficult conversations.  But much like me and my paintings, we can’t always do it on our own.  Having someone with the skills to guide us through the conversation, someone who can see what is possible, someone who knows what we need to do to work through things, allows people to create understanding and solutions.  Even when it seems impossible.

When Trina shared the first painting we’d be doing for our inaugural Paint & Networking Night I didn’t think I’d create something that would actually put on my wall but it’s up there in the dining room.  To be honest, when she shared the second painting, I also didn’t feel super confident.  But you know what?  It turns out that with a little bit of guidance I can paint.  The impossible is possible.

I’m beaming! Because I painted some apples!!

When she shares the next painting, I’m going to go into it feeling far more confident and able.

That’s how I want you to feel about your next tough conversation, about managing an ongoing conflict in your life….if I can paint apples, I believe that you can find solutions.  And I’m here to be your guide through it.

For the record, I understand that managing and resolving conflict isn’t on the same level as a fun paint night where I try to paint apples.  I take the trust that is given to me by my clients very seriously, I take the enormity of a dispute seriously.  I have the upmost admiration for those that are willing to do the hard work that comes along with the conflict resolution process.  But I see conflict resolution everywhere, potential everywhere, and I want to share that with you all.

If you’d like to check out Trina’s work, you can find her stock images at and her commercial work at  Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social to learn about our next Paint & Networking Night.

Sarah Turl mediator

Beyond being a budding artist, Sarah Turl is an optimistic mediator who’s goal is to bring conflict resolution to everyone.  A member of both the ADRIC and ADRIO, Sarah holds the designation of Q.Med.

mediator Sarah Turl looking at phone

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