Crowds of people, (meaning more than three in a room), make me uncomfortable. In fact, one of my friends once said, "Lori, if our High School Reunion was held in your FRONT YARD, you wouldn't come!" Very true.
BUT, if you put me in a room with artists, the discomfort is gone. I revel in their creativity, their passion, their dedication. We have a common goal and a finish line: a painting that gives us joy.
However, I realized at one point that I didn't really know the people I was spending hours with, other than by the little things that distinguished them; their plein air painting hats or their easels, or the way they walked up a hill lugging their equipment.
All of that changed years ago while painting with a group of artists in a rented space where we met once a week. I marveled at one man's knowledge of perspective as he painted a scene with a building in it. It was amazing, the way that his pre-determined lines guided his every brush stroke. When I asked him how he had come by such ability, he turned to me, leaning in so nobody else would hear and shyly said, "I'm an architect."
That's when it hit me. It was time to pay attention not only to the scene in front of me, but also to the people who were standing BESIDE me. These were people who balanced full lives with the artistic skills I admired so much. I hadn't even noticed, being caught up in my own creative journey. These folks could teach me MUCH more than just how to capture a scene in paint. I could learn lessons about how to live my life.
So, I finally saw the REAL lessons before me through people I admired. The lady rancher taught me resilience. The former nun taught me patience. The professors taught me about how to value the people that are put on your path. The photographer taught me about the joy of colour; the former paramedic about how to stay the course. The realtor showed me how to see the human form and capture movement. The potter, how to discover who I am through the varied techniques I employ. The dog groomer taught me how to laugh at myself and embrace the moment, even if it wasn't going my way. This is only a short list of the many folks I've been honoured to paint with. The debt of gratitude is...formidable.
These people weren't defined by their careers or even by their artistic abilities. To me, they became defined by the wonderful qualities they imparted to me. All I had to do was listen.
Thank you for spending this time with me,