My sister asked me to make a painting
to hang in her dollhouse.
So I did.
With squinting eyes,
I leaned in close
and poured my soul onto that tiny canvas.
Is it a waste of time to put so much of myself
into a 2″ x 2″ square?
Art is all or nothing.
If you look at a photograph of me
you see the face I wear,
the body I walk around in
and a few items of clothing;
unlike my paintings..
which show you what I look like
on the inside.
No one rolls out of bed one day
and decides to be an artist..
you were meant to be one.
Even if you don’t answer the call for many years
it has always been there
My husband and I volunteer as art teachers
for a group of inner city kids in downtown Phoenix.
One evening, we were joined by a particularly shy little girl.
Sitting in front of a blank piece of paper,
she whispered that she couldn’t think of anything to draw.
I asked her if there was something she wanted me to draw.
“A snowman!” she said, touching the picture of Olaf on her t-shirt.
“Okay,” I said – rising to the challenge..
“I never drew him before, but I am going to do the best I can.”
The girl watched me intently.
A few minutes later, I showed the little girl my drawing.
Smiling, she looked down at her blank piece of paper
and announced with great conviction,
“I am going to draw an ice cream cone. I never drew one before
but I am going to do the best I can.”
She drew a wonderful ice cream cone, covered in sprinkles with a cherry on top..
and after that, she drew the picture you see above.
I thanked her
and then I got something in my eye.
Several years ago I was sitting at my desk
in my high-level corporate job
and I had a terrifying vision.
I imagined myself far in the future
sitting at the same desk..
doing exactly the same thing
and wondering to myself
what life would have been like
if I had decided to pursue my art instead.
Not long after that, I quit my job..
and let my path take me to where I was meant to be
instead of where I thought I should go.
In life, as in art
we must be fearless.
Trust the gift.
I have a very distinct palette…
a range of colors that I use
every time I paint.
Chromium Oxide Green
to name a few.
I know these colors intimately;
How they react to each other..
all their moods
I know them like I know
the landscape of my own heart.
But, when I started work on my painting Frozen Zoo
I did something outrageously impulsive
and decided to use a new color.
Not just a little taste of it..
not just dipping my toe in the water..
Instead, I stared at that strange tube of paint in front of me
and decided to cover a huge portion of my canvas with it.
That was my introduction to Prussian Blue.
A tremendous leap of artistic faith..
it was an epic struggle
to incorporate this alien color into my familiar palette.
It did weird things
when I mixed it with raw umber.
Is that a hint of green I see?
I never realized that blue could be so warm.
Flailing about and lost in unfamiliar territory
I refused to back down.
By the time the painting was completed
Prussian Blue was like an old friend..
battle tested and true,
it is a welcome addition
to my comfortable palette.
There is no place for cowardice in art.