As a long-time high school English teacher, I love the drama of the written word, the flow of a phrase, and the art of creating a visual picture in the reader's mind. Art, like the written word, speaks volumes without the slightest sound. Each nuance of the brush stroke can stir the imagination and lighten one's heart. Acrylic painting is the medium I love because it lends itself to my impatience to put bold colors on the canvas until the painting begins to speak to me and come alive. I am drawn to the brilliant colors of flowers, to their individuality, strength, and their ability to brighten any room. I search for flowers and gardens with my camera in hand and find those flowers that catch my eye and put a smile on my face. I want my painted flowers to look real, to be intense, alive, and to lift right off the canvas. I find the irony of the delicate strength of flowers to be empowering and inspiring in my life and want that for those who place my paintings in their environment as well.
My 2 -hour art class at a local craft store is the extent of my art classes, although there are extraordinary art classes on-line that I've used. I have always wanted to paint, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I put my brush to the canvas. One afternoon I sat in front of a small blank canvas while staring at a basket of yarn that I had placed on a desk in front of me. My 6-year-old grandson, Logan, came into the room. He stopped, looked at me, looked at the canvas, and looked back at me, puzzled. "Whatcha' doin', Granna?"
"I want to paint that, but I'm afraid." Oh, my! I really AM afraid, aren"t I? I had not even admitted that to myself before.
He paused in thought, then looked me in the eye and said, "Just start, Granna. Don't be afraid. Just start!"
"I don't even know where to start, Logan."
There was another long pause while he carefully studied the basket of yarn. He spoke with such confidence, arms folded across his chest, "Start with the basket! Definitely. Start with the basket."
So I did, and haven't stopped since.
I don't know why it took such courage for me to begin to paint and why I waited so long to try, but once I got started I fell in love with it. As an educator it's always pretty easy to teach someone else something I know, but this time, I am teaching myself something I have always wanted to do and actually didn't know I could do. I am finding that I instinctively know how to paint and love every second I am at the easel.
When people find joy in looking at my paintings, it does my heart good. My life's work has been about showing people who they are, how beautiful and strong they are, to awaken in them the desire to dream bigger, be bolder, and to live in full color. If my paintings reflect those passions, it is because of who I am. I am living my own dream- in full color.