Where do words go that were meant to be said, but were never spoken? A dear friend, a young woman who came to all my shows, who helped me put up art fair tents in heat and take them down in rain, who visited our home and whose love of laughter and passion for pug rescue intermingled with my own, died in her sleep on Monday night. All the phone calls I didn’t make, all the times we did not get together because of busy work lives, are haunting me now. Last night I dreamed I was standing at the foot of a ladder and she was at the top. As she reached upward, I cried out to her. She smiled down and said, Don’t be sad, everything is going to be alright.
When I first became a full-time artist, I fantasized about free time: Time to paint, time to spend with friends, time to create. But it’s hard to walk away from a job you absolutely love. Weekdays and weekends merge together into a calendar that is always full. An art business is different from making widgets or counting numbers in a corporate office. Making art, painting and teaching, is about people. It’s about connecting with others on a personal level. More than anything else, it’s about caring. I’ve been the recipient of so many caring gestures, kind notes, and time and love from others on this journey. Measuring all I’ve been given, I’m overwhelmed at the size of the thank you that I owe.
When I first began teaching, the one thing I wanted to do, was provide a way for those on fixed incomes to be able to take art classes. Many who paint are retirees, and have to be careful with budgeting, travel, and time. Thanks to my team, Jude, Rachel and Joel, we launched one of the first monthly online oil painting classes. The Joyful Brush has been a dream come true for me, allowing students to get high quality lessons without a large financial commitment up front. Artists from around the world have joined me on this journey, and have formed fast friendships with one another over shared interests and a love for art. For the members of The Joyful Brush, for my flower family, my heart is full of thanks.
But I have more dreams to come. What else I can do for artists, what can I create that will make their journeys more joyful and that will erase the barriers that stand between them and their desire to paint and to learn. I’ll be sharing new ideas with you in the coming year. In the meantime, I’m enjoying your suggestions for enrichment and recharging – fabulous writers such as Maria Shriver and others who uplift are endless sources of fuel and inspiration.
My biggest fear has been a feeling that I am falling behind, that there is so much I want to do, I will never catch up. But I realized this week, I am an artist in progress. I’m not an opus or a masterpiece or a master anything. I’m a simple work in progress, and it’s the art journey, not the finished product, that is the source of joy. I’m learning to slow down just a bit, to breathe, to pick up the phone and call dear friends again, and to connect with those who share their hearts and their love of art.
How can I thank you properly for a year of dreams come true? Have you found a beautiful solution for giving thanks, or for refueling your busy art life? I would love to hear from you. Even if you have nothing to add except to let me know how you are doing, it is always such a gift to hear from you. May your holidays be filled with happiness, and with beautiful memories.