Sunday, March 15, 2015

Everyone is gifted, but most people never open the gift

I like to work on a few paintings at a time, so I can can stay fresh and keep the strokes loose.
"Everyone is gifted, but most people never open the gift. " the Buddha.

 We visual artists do have gifts; to see what others do not see, even with our eyes closed; and musicians to hear what the rest of us do not hear; writers to capture the feeling and energy of countless, subtle experiences in the flow of beautifully constructed sentences.

If I had listened to my mother, I would not be an artist, I would be a retired secretary.

When I was a little girl, I remember lying on the kitchen floor and asking Mother, "What do you want me to draw?' She said, "I don't care. Draw what ever you want." "NO", I remember protesting, "I can draw whatever you want."

In 7th grade, I entered an art contest for students in Illinois. The subject was, "Lafayette Trading with the Illinois Indians." I went to our set of encyclopedias ( and that tells you how old I am), and looked up Lafayette and painted what I thought the scene would look like. My art teacher said, "This will never win. There is too much detail." After I won the contest, and a week in art camp, making woven plastic key chains, she said, "You won because you used so much detail" This was my introduction to the vague support and criticism of observers of my art.

When I was in high school, I considered becoming a psychiatrist, because I was so fascinated with people's stories. Then I discovered that I would have to have a medical degree for that profession and decided that I would continue to study faces and people and make art that could touch my soul and theirs with the stories in their faces. I had been drawing my classmates since 5th grade, instead of listening to the teacher, so the fascination was nothing new.

Why do I continue to paint? Because I don't know what to do with myself if I am not making art. I have been doing this for more than 60 years. That count started when I left art school at 20 years old, got married and went to work for a publishing company.

If you are interested in my personal story and how I found that it is never too late to live your dream, my autobiography, Fireworks at Dawn,  can be purchased online in digital form:

I don't paint everyday. Not even close.  I go through long dry periods, knowing that when I get back in the studio, the first few paintings will be terrible until I get back into the flow. Right now, I am busy getting my art seen online and have made a new website with all its challenges, and eagerly looking forward to my new series of 100 faces.

To begin a new series, and I work in series (unless I made an experimental painting with new encaustic techniques), I meditate and try to open my consciousness to the next step in my artistic, and spiritual unfolding. When I feel open to the creative inspiration and I can follow that direction.  It could be a quote, a cover on a magazine, an old wall... I pray that I may make art that is not only meaningful to me, but will uplift others when they see it.

When I am in the flow,  creativity is a deeply spiritual and enlivening experience. I hope to become an instrument of creative intelligence inspiring new ideas, new art, created in a new way . Creativity and spirituality are the dynamic engine of the continuing universe.

The following images show a progression in a painting that is part of "The Messenger" series. This series is about women artists. More can be seen on my website,


Lay out in acrylic; fast loose strokes

starting to go in with oil washes
refining the face in oil
"The Brush is My Truth"

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