|The painting above was one my sisters both liked very much. June, my older sister, fell in love with it and had it in her house for a while. Gay has this one and most of my good paintings.|
Going into the painting class the first time, I was terrified. I had never attempted to use oil paint. But the once a week class became a passion that helped my self-esteem, helped me escape from real life, as I painted in class and painted at home, constantly improving until I could see my work was good.
My mother and I had been closer than most mothers and daughters. I visited her almost every day and I could talk to her about everything. My mother had suffered a ruptured aneurysm in January 1975. We had recently moved into the house we always dreamed of building. Life was supposed to be good for us, but my mother needed me and I had vowed if she recovered from the cerebral hemorrhage that almost killed her, I would care for her the rest of her life.
When she came home from the hospital after three months, she had no short term memory. She had to re-learn who her children were. It was a determined family that would not give up on her. Gay, my younger sister came and spent a month helping get Mother settled in at home. After my sister left, I became the one responsible for Mother's care. I was on call 24/7. I learned all I could about care giving, Mother's illness, diet and her medications. The weight of her care weighed heavily on my shoulders and on my mind.
Depressed and lonely, not working out of the home, I knew I needed to do something that would take me out of my everyday life. My husband's mother was an artist and we had a number of her paintings in our new house. For a long time, I had thought about taking painting lessons. One day I called Verna and signed up for classes.
I used a little glassed in balcony in our new house high up in the trees as my painting studio. The north light was fabulous. I could leave my canvas on my easel and work on it as I had time. I love oils for that reason. They take a long time to dry.
My husband Barry loved my paintings. That pleased me, having grown up in a family where I seldom heard a compliment for anything. Verna asked me to help her judge an art show. I was overjoyed with her confidence in my ability. It was a day I'll never forget. I still have a small gift I received that day.
During the ten years of my Mother's illness and my life as a care giver, painting was my absolute passion. I donated a painting to a charity that held a sale at the local mall. It sold for the price I put on it and, I heard, it was the only painting sold that day.
Mother died in 1985. I was devastated. Grieving, I felt I had failed as her care giver. Also I was lost with no purpose for my daily life.
I turned to my writing as therapy, pouring out all my fears, my sadness, my memories. I stopped painting. It seemed I could not paint and write. This became a period of soul-searching, of deep introspection. My sorrow took over my life.
In 1988, my father died. I was free to leave south Georgia and we did.
When I moved to our little house in the mountains, I gave away most of my paintings.
I met and became part of an exciting writing community. I followed my other passion that I had nurtured all my life, writing.
Lately I have entertained ideas of painting again, twenty years after giving it up. I never lost my eye for scenes I want to paint. I see them everywhere. I often try to capture them with a camera, but have not found the satisfaction I want.
This is one of the my photographs that hangs on my wall.
|My woods in winter - taken from my deck|
I hope we do get to live more than one life. It took me so long to get the courage to follow my dreams and do what I love to do. I think it would be so unfair if, just as I get to the place I can do all these things I love, I would have to leave.
Are you following your dreams, following your passions and doing what you most enjoy? Don't wait. Time flies so swiftly and before you know it, it is too late. I hope you are following your passion, your dream.