Over a year ago, my parents gave me three tall stacks of canvases for my birthday. I had asked for acrylic-coated wood panels for my collage work; they thought the canvases were the same. It was such a generous gift – all different sizes, probably 30 in all – but I hated canvas. I didn’t have the patience, inspiration or confidence to paint. I tried months later to return them to Dick Blick, but they wouldn’t accept them without a receipt. I thought about selling them on Craigslist, but never got around to creating a listing. So, they just sat in my dudio for months on end.  

After my dad died last month, getting back into the dudio was hard. But I knew I needed to make art again; my soul craved it. When I sat down to create this piece, I asked my dad for help. In my mind, like a prayer, I asked him to help me feel inspired again, to help my spark flicker bright enough to cut through the fog of grief. I sat in silence – listening, waiting, hoping. Rather than start working with a beautiful mess of papers and textures, I felt moved to pick up a paint brush.

As I painted those wildflowers, I could practically feel inspiration rising. I didn’t question myself, beat myself up for mistakes, wonder if anyone else would like it. I just painted, feeling much like I was outside my body, literally following my heart.

I couldn’t wait to do more. My friend Aimee said she was diving into Art Every Day Month, so I joined, too – hoping inspiration would stick with me through November. Oh, has it ever. Those stacks of blank canvases are dwindling, at long last. There are some days I have two or three paintings going at once. Some turn out awful – which used to bother me, but I now realize is part of the process. I learn something from every mistake. And others, like this one I completed last night, feel right on – like I’ve managed to imprint what’s in my heart onto the canvas.

I have sold three originals in the past week. I have four new greeting cards coming later this month {squeeeeal!}. I’m in a groove and it feels so good.

This is the way the best things in life come about, I suppose – finally moving forward, fear be damned. We are all artists with a blank canvas before us. We get to choose each day whether to listen to the doubtful, fearful voices in our head or the brave and beautiful whispers of our heart.