When I graduated from high school and declared to my family that I was going into fine art at college, I got a nice surprise: total acceptance. I still remember that day. My grandfather, who I had long admired in the arts, went outside to get something out of the car. He came back inside and snuggled up next to me on the couch. Bernie, as he was known to his friends, was a very modest person. He had never really shared much about his extensive involvement in the arts, and he only occasionally told us about the patients he worked with in his art therapy group at the hospital.
That day he had a surprise for me. He opened a large photo album and began to share it with me; telling me stories of his days in Taos and Lawrence and the other artists he had studied under and rubbed shoulders with. He had saved newspaper clippings and journal entries. I was so moved by his passion. He spoke with such excitement, and it really made me want to learn how to do what he had done so well.
Spending four (and a half) years studying and doing art full-time was an awesome adventure. I was constantly learning more about myself and the world around me, all while doing something that thrilled me to the core. I finished my fine art degree and the years slipped away. I was offered a decent paying job with endless opportunities for advancement, and with that my art was put on the back burner. It seemed that each time I saw grandpa, however, he was busy producing and I was busy staying busy. He was always encouraging me to read about art, keep a sketch pad or get out my paints.
In April of 2014 my grandpa passed away. At his memorial service there were paintings and drawings that he had done throughout the years, all perfectly displaying his uniquely beautiful style. “We can all keep a part of Bernie alive by sharing his passion, his talents and his love to others…,” was eloquently being said in the background as I sat admiring his life’s work.
I left Kansas with a renewed sense of self. I made a promise to myself that I would get rid of the excuses and begin painting again, not just because I love it but to bring honor to the memory of my grandpa.
So, that brings me to my current project: The NapTime Series.
Now I am a stay at home mother of a 2 year old with another on the way. Painting time is limited, heck anything time is limited, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. After a few failed attempts to paint throughout my day, I realized that the best time is nap time. I may have 45 minutes or 3 hours-I never know. Either way, it is the perfect opportunity to unwind and share a little piece of my passion with others.