Dancing with the Sea
Pastel, 16 x 22Three of my favorite things: white horses. the sea, and lighthouses. Maybe all this is a bit too much for one painting - sort of like a dessert of double-double chocolate torte with whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream on the side. I am not sure if there are limits for things like that, but I have always heard that you should paint what you love.
Speaking of which, I may have told you this story before, but I know you will forgive me because you always do, no matter how often I repeat myself. Several years ago Larry and I illustrated a book of poetry written by our friend Kathy. After it was published, she asked us to go with her to a book fair in a neighboring town. She set up a lovely display and lots of people stopped to chat, including a local politician, a county supervisor, I think. He was a bit insulted that we hadn't recognized his name right away, as he wrote a column for the local newspaper. He gave us this song and dance about wanting to buy a book for his mother but didn't have any money with him. (Uh-huh, I thought, if he was a politician, most likely he had some of OUR money. But I was very polite and tried to be impressed by his importance.) Honestly, he would have made a much better impression if he had just said something like "very nice" and moved on. Instead he picked up the mini portfolio of my work, glanced at one of the pictures and said, "Oh, you paint horses.' Now there are many ways of saying something like this. You might say, "Oh! YOU paint HORSES!" or "Oh, you paint horses?" It all depends on the inflection. It could be complimentary, as if horses were nice and he liked them, or it could be condescending and insulting. Let's just say his tone made it clear that he didn't consider horses to be appropriate subjects for painting. Not all the paintings were of horses, of course, but evidently he had a strong prejudice against them, and I lost all credibility with him when he saw the one horse painting. I took a deep breath and, with all the dignity I could muster, I answered, "I paint a LOT of different things, and if you are really interested, you can log onto my website." I handed him a business card. He looked at it as if it would bite him and, after a moment's hesitation, stuffed it into his pocket. You can bet, he lost a lot of credibility with me. And I definitely looked for his name on the ballot in the next general election so that I could vote AGAINST him.
When I began today's blog, as it often happens, I have no idea where things will end up, but there is a point to all this. In art, as in life, we can't please everyone, nor are we supposed to. God has gifted each of us uniquely, to bring healing to a hurting world. If I don't do what I have been called to do, it won't be done, and a piece of the puzzle will be missing. If I let the opinion of someone else influence my work, it won't be my work at all and a piece of the puzzle will be missing. If I try to fulfill the calling of another, I lose on so many levels, and someone who might have found a little joy or perhaps comfort through my work will also lose.
All this from a horse, the sea, and a lighthouse! I do tend to get carried away. Be kind to yourself today, and thank God for YOU, just as you are!
This painting is available through Art Helping Animals.