One of the joys of painting is the fact that you can re-visit places from the past by holding your brushes. I recently "returned" to Stratford, Ontario, to the Avon River. I was last there in 1986, feeding the swans every day in the sunshine until I had to dress to attend a performance in the evening. A magical time, swans and Shakespeare. Here is the recent acrylic painting that transported me back:
Painting also makes me think of mentors that have touched my life. I wouldn't be here, creating art, living my life as I do, without their examples:
An adored Grandmother, the only time her hands were idle were when people asked her to be in a photo. She smiles at me from frames in my home, watching me as I sew or knit, paint or cook.
Or the artists that have taken the time to look into my eyes and tell me that I could make this dream happen; that it was all about doing the work, spending the time creating. Ignoring the naysayers.
But the mentor of mine that had such a profound effect on me I will call "Dr. X". He is a dentist, now retired, with big blue eyes and a Hollywood smile. "Dr. X" not only cared for patients in his practice, but he opened his doors early, sometimes on weekends, to give FREE dental work to the homeless people in his town. Those with no permanent address, shunned, forgotten. "Dr. X" did this work without fanfare. I only found out because I had an early appointment and he asked me if I minded waiting as someone had a toothache and he wanted to take care of her so she would no longer be in pain.
Was "Dr. X" living the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? Perhaps he was hearing Maya Angelou's words in his ears: "Your legacy is every life you've touched". Maybe he had studied Epictetus: "Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it". It doesn't matter why, just that he made the decision to make a difference. To ease pain; to care.
"Dr X" held the mirror to my conscience: Was I being kind? Was I smiling at people that needed some joy at that moment: Was I taking the time to think of others first rather than concentrating on my own life and accomplishments?
I love the fact that my personal heroes are people I've known. They've touched my life so deeply and have (I hope!) made me a better person.
Please be kind, as "Dr X" invariably would be. Our shattered world needs it now more than ever.
Thank you for spending this time with me