I have a big birthday coming up next month. One of the gifts of growing older is a clearer understanding of what’s important to me personally and what beliefs were imposed on me.
For instance, I once believed that making a living was making a life. As I grow older, I realize that’s not true. Making a life is about answering the call of your heart’s mission.
I used to keep uber-busy building a business while the desire to live creatively tugged at my heart. I deeply wanted to imagine and make, to play with materials and ideas. I wanted to make items that brought joy to other people. When I finally acknowledged that part of me, creating joy became my “art mission”.
And every once in a while something happens to show me I’m on the right path.
This week I delivered a commission I’d been working on since Christmas – a painting of a local home that’s been in the same family for at least three generations (that I’m aware of). A young couple commissioned it for their parents as a Christmas gift. Their grandmother grew up in the home.
It’s actually just up the street from my studio and because it sits empty over the winter, I would pull into the driveway to observe how the light fell on the house, the play of shadows, the relationships between windows and roof line and doors and all of those details we artists absorb.
Delivering the painting this past week was a little scary. I now had a relationship with the house and its portrait. It greeted me every time I entered the studio. Would the parents (the intended recipients) be happy with it?
I’m happy to report they are delighted with it. It will be going home with them after the summer to remind them of their Nova Scotia roots.
Prior to doing the oil painting I also created a watercolor to share the concept and composition. On a whim, I took the watercolour along with me when I delivered the oil painting. I felt they should have it if they wanted it. (It was only going to sit in a drawer if I kept it.)
What happened after that touched me deeply.
It was the birthday of the grandmother – the woman who grew up in the home. They gifted her with the watercolour. Here’s a bit of the email I received the next day:
“We dropped in at Michaels on our way to the farm yesterday and were able to find a frame which we think highlights nicely the Cleveland House watercolour. Really love it as did my Mom today. It’s been months since she visited her childhood home and she was a little emotional about the painting. It is already on the wall which she faces most of the day and she can “visit” it whenever she wants.”
So mission accomplished. My art delivered joy.