Once upon a time, long ago, I was posed to make a career as a sculptor. I loved working with my hands and mind, and considered the creative process a spiritual experience. Hands in clay, I formed objects, large and small, fired them, experimented endlessly with glazes, and fired again (and again). The transformation – from clay and minerals to objects of beauty – was miraculous. The ability to hold the object in your hands, was to feel creation. I had the hope of working larger, of traveling to Italy for a residency, of continuing to develop my portfolio.
The work never got larger. The Italian residency didn’t happen. One day, a flood demolished my home, and in the aftermath of clean up, I severed the ulnar nerve of my right arm. It would be two years before the nerve regenerated and my hand worked well enough to make art.
Time did not stop because my hand didn’t work. I got a job in academia (thank you, education) and tried my best to put my enthusiasm in that place. But, my heart was always in one place, and my body and mind in another.
One day, I picked up a paintbrush, and painted my heart out. That painting, Passion, released all my pent up energy, and allowed me to show my emotion through paint. I painted my way through an unhappy time at work, through the deaths of my mother and sisters, and through my own battle with autoimmune disease.
I continue to paint as a passion. My paintings are expressions of my inner life; dreams and ideas that are actualized when they enter the consciousness as images. I invite viewers to see the images through the lens of their own experiences. I also take photos, tackle construction projects, and make most anything that I can. I’ve tried my hand (yes, it works, albeit sometimes painfully) at sculpting with wax, quilting, stained glass, mixed media, well – you get the idea – just about anything that I can.
I paint by day, and mostly, at night. When I am up to it, I work in clay. Yes, clay. I have a studio, with easels, drawing board, slab roller, kiln, and the space and (occasionally) time to work. I am not able to work with heavy amounts of clay, metal, or glass, but I am making art. I sometimes have to be reminded not to be too harsh with myself (I could have done that work with my eyes closed, in half the time, fifteen years ago), but I am remembering who I wanted to be.
In addition to making art, I advocate for other artists and arts organizations. It is my honor to work with creative people every day, and to live in a state that respects creativity, artists, and arts organizations.
It is never too late to remember who you wanted to be. It is never too late to be the best version of what you can be.