On August 12, 1996, I picked up my brushes and began to paint again after 26 long years. I remember the day precisely. It was late afternoon in Seattle. A huge storm had blown in and it was pouring down rain. I put on loud music, old Bonnie Raitt, and started making soup. I used to be a singer and Bonnie was one of my inspirations so, there in my kitchen, I belted out Bonnie’s blues as though my soul depended on it.
I’d been doing The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron for about a month by then, I think, maybe longer. And I’d been buying art supplies on some of my “artist’s dates.” Singing there in my kitchen, the desire to paint overrode all my fears, and I went to gather the materials. I set up in the dining room, the only space there was, and began to paint.
Time stood still. I was in awe. I watched my hand dip and move, dance and swirl with the music, putting paint on canvas for the first time in 26 years. There was joy, certainly, a kind of fragile joy. I almost didn’t want to breathe because I didn’t want to break the spell.
I painted like I never remember painting before. It was freer, more painterly. It was almost as though I’d been painting in my mind all those years, perhaps in my heart, because I’d grown as a painter!
That day was the beginning. Those first strokes opened the doors, lit the pathway, that brought me here to live this artist’s life on the High Road to Taos. A destiny I’d never imagined, a life I’d not dared dream was possible. But I am here. And I am proof that it is, indeed, possible.
Whatever it is you’ve shunted aside, the thing that makes your soul swell, look at me now and know you can do it, too. You can live your truth, whatever it may be. And you do it by putting one foot in front of the other, by stepping into the unknown, sometimes into the darkness. It starts with some small stroke one day when you least expect it. Watch for it. Pay close attention or it can slip by unrecognized.
Whatever you dare to dream, begin it now.
Here are some photos of me as an art student at the University of Oregon.
And one of me painting after college.
This is one of those first paintings I did after 26 years. I think this was my third.
And this is me 3 years after starting to paint again working on my first one-woman show.
Love to you all,