Monday, August 18, 2008

Full Circle; How People Touch our Lives

For some reason I cannot explain, the past 24 hours have been filled with a lot of reflection for me, so I'll just go with it and capture those thoughts here. Maybe some of you have experienced some of this too, I sure hope so.

Full Circle.
I can remember how much I enjoyed creating drawings and those wonderful hour of art during a school day were such fun for me. I especially enjoyed when a mother of one of my classmates, who was a real artist, would come in and teach us something really cool. It was great. One day she had us bring in pictures from a magazine and we would pick one, I chose a lion's face. She had us fold the face in half vertically and draw the other side of the face, based on the side we were looking at. What a great exercise! Not only did we learn it didn't look quite right, but for all of us, we learned each side of our face is different. Thank you Mrs Secker; you sparked our creativity.

In third grade, it must have been Easter time and Sister Lawrence had us copy a drawing of Christ on the Cross. I couldn't believe my eyes as mine looked so much like the drawing that even Sister remarked about it. I didn't understand how I was able to do that. All I know is I knew my teacher was very impressed and made a point of telling my parents about it.

And then there was the time I won first prize for one of those newspaper coloring contests. I can't even tell you what it was, but for my age group I won. For once I managed to color inside the lines, something I rarely did. It was the only time I won one of those contests, but it left a lasting impression.

So, what does that have to do with anything? Well, it brings me to my reflections over the past 24 hours. My mom passed away a little over two years ago. I miss her. She's in my heart and will be there for as long as I live. When I was in high school, she encouraged me to take art classes. In my limited life experience at that time, I just couldn't see how art would become a career for me. Aahhh, youth is wasted on the young. Little did I know why she thought that, but I think she knew how much I enjoyed drawing...and I think she knew I had a talent that was waiting to be awakened. And how could she get through to this stubborn, head strong child of hers? Well, to her credit, she had me take lessons one summer from a teacher who lived in a small town, Lena, just to north of us in little Freeport IL. He took this group of high school students to various locations around Lena. We drew in charcoal and pencil. Dead trees, still life, old barns. It was a wonderful experience. Yet this teenage girl just couldn't see what might lay ahead for her as an artist.

The seeds were planted though and they grew over the years. I didn't study art in a formal school setting, but I still took classes from studios or shops in the various places I've lived. I took oil painting, did tole painting, and finally took my first class in stained glass. I had found my medium, it was glass. I loved it. And yet mastering it wouldn't come easy for me. That didn't stop me though, I kept at it.

So, now I feel like I'm finally coming full circle. After one career in insurance, and my current career in computer science, I have come back to art and I am embarking on my third career as an artist. How many years after my mother encouraged me along that path, and now I'm finally taking that journey. It's great.

How People Touch our Lives.
There are so many people who have touched my life, helping me to get to where I am today. I know I won't be able to think of all of them, but I've already mentioned a few (Mrs. Secker, Sister Lawrence, my mom, the art teacher from Lena...and I can't remember his name), and yes there are more......

My first stained glass teacher, Kate Loomiller , what a blast! We were in Texas at the time, life goes on, and we run into each other again as find find we are now living in Colorado. Kate taught me about shading with glass. What a cool concept. She taught me about the lines and how important they are to the piece. I owe her a lot.

Then there's Deb Steddom, a glass artist turned watercolor painter. She taught a class at a local stained glass shop several years ago. Drawing and how to create your own stained glass patterns. She encouraged me and told me that I can call myself an artist, because I am one. Ok Deb, I believe!

After my mother passed away, I decided I would buy a kiln with a portion of the money I received. That opened a whole new world of glass discovery for me and I cannot believe how well received my warm glass work is. So, yes, that is full circle for me with my mom and how much she touched my life.

Over the weekend, a friend of mine (Katy) gave me the book the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. After July's Art Hop, Katy felt this book would be important for me. I've only read the first five pages of the introduction and something has already struck me like a bolt of lightening. The author was sharing what she would say to a group of artists she was teaching back in 1978, so I MUST share this excerpt from the book:

"Remember, there is a creative energy that wants to express itself through you"; "Don't judge the work or yourself. You can sort it out later"; "Let God work through you," I told them.

For me, this is powerful stuff. I have mentioned it here before, but I know deep in my soul that I am being guided on this artistic path and He is guiding me. I don't know why, but I do understand I need to just let go and let it happen. There's nothing to fear.

Full circle? Yes I think so. How People Touch our Lives? In more ways than we can ever know. Just try to be aware that it's happening and embrace it.

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