Often we work diligently in the dark not knowing if our hard work will ever pay off. The gains are painstakingly incremental and often invisible. This is especially true in parenting. Then, one day we are walking away from a college dorm that is not our own.
In late September, I dropped my daughter off at my alma mater, Oregon State University. Her dorm room is located right across the street from the dorm I lived in at eighteen. If I look out her window I can look up and see my own window on the fifth floor. Now, I understand why so many families attend the same universities. I know she will have what I had; four years of interesting classes, football games, sorority sisters and the luxury of learning in such a beautiful and quintessential college environment. My years there ignited in me a lifelong love of learning and gave me friendships that have stood the test of time. As I walked away from her that day, on what is now “our” college campus, I was completely at peace knowing she is exactly where she needs to be.
The weekend before she left for college my sportswear company Ocean SF was selected by San Francisco Fashion Week in their new and emerging designers category and we watched my designs walk down the run way in the company of some of the best new designers in the business. It’s been incredibly challenging, but on that day it all seemed worthwhile.
On Saturday, I have the opening of my solo exhibition at the Art Gallery at Wilder in Orinda, California. It’s titled “Natural Beauty” as my art reflects my deep love and admiration of nature and the beauty of the world around me. I’ve been an artist all my life and few things have brought me more joy than putting brush to paper and creating something out of nothing. I can sit for hours alone listening to music and painting. In recent years my work and family have allowed less time for that, but I know without a doubt, as the next chapter unfolds painting again will be a part of my future.
On Wednesday, I hung my paintings in the sun soaked rooms at the Wilder Gallery with the gallery curator. I watched as she quickly and expertly sorted the paintings into groups. With a seasoned eye she stacked them in such a stunningly complimentary fashion that even I was surprised. The Gallery is small, but with art and perfume our senses are easily saturated, so the selected twelve paintings are more than enough to see at one time. My work has been in galleries and shows before, but only among other artist, never alone. It was a breathtaking experience to see just my work hung on the white pristine walls. This back drop made the bright colors in my paintings come to life. No matter how hard I try to paint like the Flemish masters my work always comes out in bright pinks, lavenders, oranges and blues. I’m a master mixer and I could certainly paint with browns and deep golds if I wanted to, but somehow before I know it my canvases are always covered in lively pastels.
As I stood back and looked at the culmination of so many years of training and practice and the thousands of brush strokes and countless hours it took to create this collection of work I couldn’t help but think, hard work really does pay off. It’s like a seed you plant and for a very long time you have to trust that it is growing beneath the soil.
Love and blessings to all.