I haven’t always been an artist. In fact until 2004, I drew stick figures. I always wanted to paint, draw, but I was intimidated by the notion that all artists were born with an innate talent. Clearly, my stick figures proved that I did not have the natural-artist chromosome.
At that time, a top executive in the computer industry, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. While the condition is not terminal or degenerative, it is debilitating and painful. I went from being an active, busy person to literally being a semi-invalid. Fibromyalgia forced me to give up my career. That’s when I discovered my entire identity was wrapped up in that corporate persona. I was devastated. I felt like Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when she goes to the friar and says, “I am past hope, past cure, past help.”
I was 44 years old, in poor health, with no job and no game plan. I did, however, have the desire to create and a wonderfully supportive husband. With nothing to lose, I picked up a paintbrush. I gave it 100% and very quickly realized I COULD do this. It was so healing and liberating! With painting, came the return of my confidence, zeal for life and self-esteem. It allowed me to reinvent myself. I once again had hopes and dreams for the future.
I want to “pay it forward,” and teach adults how to paint. It’s amazing to watch a student's face light up as they see those first shapes come together --and realize that they CAN become artists — or whatever they want to be. My experience has taught me it’s NEVER too late to reinvent ourselves. While I do occasionally have bad days, the fibromyalgia is manageable. I do believe that if my body had not forced me to be still and listen to my heart, I would not have had the courage to pursue art nor the opportunity to reinvent myself.
I am so grateful for my life today. My art has taken off in many different directions. I now sell my art through galleries. I had the privilege of selling my first mixed media piece to Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow (I've been a fan since Cable Guy!), I've been published in numerous magazines. The greatest honor is that I "get" to teach painting — fine art, mixed-media, art journaling--and pass this amazing gift to others. My latest class offering is watercoloring journaling from your paddle board perspective(!)So, while I don’t have the DNA of a Michelangelo or Monet, I do have the “passionate about art” chromosome. Apparently that is all one needs to save themselves — and hopefully others — through art.