We'd spent our early childhood exploring museums all over the world with my mother, since we travelled a lot, living in various countries for the first 10 years of my life (Malaysia, Japan, Italy, England). I was awed by the fact that a human being can make something of beauty, tell a visual story that touches others, and this image can last for hundreds of years.
Seeing the paintings in the museums was like looking at fingerprints of the artists who made them, taking me back in time, taking me to see the world through their eyes, though they were long gone. And the images were beautiful. Beauty made my heart sing.
|Birth of Creativity|
I decided that I wanted to be able to draw the person with more realism, and I wanted to be able to do this without needing models or pictures so I studied anatomy. I wanted my images to be truly beautiful, depicting magical beings of human and animal form. And I found as I grew older that I loved depicting emotion. A little boy, trapped, his hand pressing against the window, or a setting sun, just a pinpoint of light surrounded by darkness.
|Death of Grandfather|
As I grew older I continued to draw and paint and play with pastels and colored pencils and markers and watercolors and oil paints and ink pens and anything I could make a mark with. But I encountered resistance when I told my parents, who insisted I go to college, that I wanted to attend Pratt or Parsons, in order to learn from the best.
They didn't tell me they couldn't afford it or that I hadn't enough talent; my father told me art was not a stable career and he would not allow me to go to art school so I had to choose a liberal arts college. Unfortunately, while there, I encountered the nightmare of a serial murderer, so I dropped out and ran off to California with a man I had met a few months after I came home from the year of the killings.
|My Twelve-Tailed Dragon|
|Take a chance.|
|Are we puppets?|
|Let's get serious.|
Towards the end of my career as an instructional designer I went part-time and started working with beads because it was something I could pick up and put down no matter the interruption, and with four teenagers and a second marriage plus career, I had to spread myself pretty thin to cover all the demands on my time.
|Beloved Madonna and Child|
I became the manager of the museum library, which filled my hours with more "keeping the dream alive." I met many artists, and I found that their lives were filled with all kinds of activities and friends, despite the vast need in each of us for the privacy and quiet time to do the artistic work that we do, and despite the introversion that type of dedication takes.
My muse slept as I wept, though occasionally I could work with the beads and occasionally I could express myself on paper, but I had lost the confidence and magic and happiness bubble of my experience of life, nevermind the serenity and wonder and trust it took to allow myself to imagine anything, to feel any pleasure, to seek the higher realms.
Would this also be my road to freedom at last? My pathway back to life? My connection to others of like mind? The eventual exposure of my heart and soul, right there on the walls for all to see?
Many times I drove there after my daughter died, not being able to see the road, my vision blurry from anxiety and tears. The time in-between I forgot the world, I listened to the other artist elders, those of like mind, I soaked this connection up like water to a man coming off the desert. And the drive home was always more beautiful, the colors of the landscape, brighter. The swooping hawks, my sky friends.
And I began to feel my heart and soul sparkle slowly awake with the fire that comes from within.
Art is essential to my life. It sustains me through the very hardest, cruelest, most shocking and isolating and vulnerability creating times of my life. All through the years it has been a haven. I love art and art has loved me back. My muse is there when I turn to her. In fact I wonder if I have several different muses, depending on which style of expression wants to come out. I love them all and they love me back.
With my art I want to make the heart sing.