The painting is starting to take a life of it's own and come together. It doesn't matter how hard I work on a concept before hand for a painting...the painting always takes unexpected turns.
Recently, I had an unusual turn of life, imitating, one of my paintings. It's (most definitely) usually the other way around. I did a commission painting for someone a while back. She wanted a representation of herself in a big eyed girl, and her horse. She explained that her horse had helped her through a difficult time in her life. This was the painting that I created for her.
It's called "Trust, Grow...Love".
My youngest, Logan had a chance to attend a workshop recently by Danielle Herb, a 15 year old that founded, Drop Your Reins...a holistic training school based in Live Oak, FL. Through Danielle's extensive experience with horses and natural horsemanship, she has realized that horses are sentient animals that mirror human beings. In her workshops, young people and their families discover the power of personal growth and learning to trust though the use of Natural Horsemanship. They have also helped begin the healing process with a variety of children and teens including those with ADD/ADHD, Autism and low self-esteem. Danielle is an incredible girl, who at 15 has accomplished more than many adults.
In the workshop, (conducted by Danielle and her Mom, shown above) Logan learned how to ask for what she wants without being to bossy or too meek. It was incredible because rather than focusing on her words...she learned to focus on her energy. Danielle also saw that Logan had some issues starting to arise with self esteem, just from the way she rode on the horse. And at the end, she taught Logan to stand up on the horse (yes just like my painting). It was a process to help the child work through a fear with baby steps and trust. The workshop gave Logan and I, a reference point to come back to visit whenever a problem arises. It taught us both tremendous skills that we will use the rest of our lives.
I am always amazing at what young people can do if given the chance. If you step back...let them grow and spread their own wings. My 15 year old son Luke, was accepted into a magnet high school for visual arts. This was a HUGE achievement because we don't live in the same county as the magnet school, and he was trying out for his sophomore year of high school, and auditioning among 3000 potential students. But, he did it. I drove him to the audition...and then he was completely on his own. I never saw the artwork he had to create on the spot, heard the interview, or read the essay he had to write while he was in the audition. He did all of that on his own. I can remember trying to turn him into an artist at a very young age. I had him finger painting, and taking art classes before he was 5. But, he never showed any interest. But, when I gave up, stopped pushing, and let things happen naturally...he started sketching. From age 7, he has never stopped drawing. His skills are much better than mine now. My parents never supported my art. I can't imagine how differently things might have turned out, if they had. I was 26 years old before I heard an official grown up, parent figure, tell me I was an artist. It was my husband's parents...one of the reason's I married him.
A couple of days ago, two young girls came through the studio. They were probably around 16. One was very interested in my artwork. I noticed her carefully studying each painting. I asked if she was an artist. She beamed, and answered she was. Inside, I was so proud of her for not being shy or insecure when she answered the question. I could have never done that at her age! When I asked her what type of work she did...she just motioned around the room...work like mine. Wow...what incredible courage that must have taken! I guess some artists might have laughed or even been insulted that a youngster was comparing their work to something they had spent years refining. But...I was so proud of her. She, was who, I wished I was, at her age. It was wonderful. The two girls were considering buying a piece. I decided to give it to her as a gift. I told her that when she was famous, I wanted her to give a piece of her art to a young artist. And I could see in her eyes after I told her...all her insecurities and doubts went away...she knew she was an artist...and she knew she would be famous one day.
I've been adding flowers swirling around in my paintings lately. At first it was for pure design, and I knew it meant something to me...but I couldn't verbalize it. But, after meeting two strong young women lately, Anastasia (the artist) and Danielle (the horse instructor), I know, now, that it means letting go of your fears, doubts and insecurities to just fly away with the wind.
So, I'll continue on my long journey with this painting, and not get defeated. I let it develop on it's own and take me down all those scary roads...even though I didn't plan for those roads. I don't think I've ever had a painting come out exactly like I had preplanned it. You can choose to fight and struggle with those turns...or accept them. Most of the time...I accept them now and leave it in the Universe's hands. And...it always turns out better than what I had preplanned.
Maybe it wasn't meant for me to know I was an artist at such a young age. Having acceptance, and preplanning my life might have taken me down many different roads.
In the new painting, the octopus is giving the girl a pearl. The pearl represents many things, such as courage, talent, self esteem...but...you know what...she doesn't really need it...because
"She Had It All Along"
Thank you to Luke, Anastasia, and Danielle...for helping me remember that I had "it" all along too...even if no one ever told me.