It was the summer of 1984 when my painting journey really began. I was a 16 year old girl who had just come face to face with loss. My granny and my grandfather became the first leading characters in my story as an artist and intuitive.
I painted this as a heartfelt gesture to offer hope, comfort and healing to my granny.
We had just lost our grandfather and three other family members in a sudden tragic car accident. I felt haunted by the experience…. I was overcome with endless questions around the spiritual nature of death too. Very soon after my grandfather’s passing, he appeared to me in spirit as I lay sleeping one night. I felt his presence and heard his message so vividly to follow an intuitive path.
One sunny afternoon, I sat at my desk… the one I would usually do my homework at. I remember choosing to paint that day instead of visiting with friends. I had a book called “Painting sunsets”. I really loved that book because it was filled with vibrant warm images of the sea. I used that book to paint this picture. Despite the grief, I found myself loving every moment of creating this painting. I loved creating a sense of movement through the waves and simply loved trying to capture the glow of the sunset all over the piece of cardboard I painted on. It was my first time using oil paints too. The colours were like a healing balm to me.
It felt important to me to offer something that was uplifting for my granny to look at.
I gave the painting to her with a handwritten note. I asked her to see the warmth of God’s love in the colours, to feel strength offered to her when she looks at the rocks.
At the time I was a Sunday School teacher and sang weekly in the gospel group at church. Devotion was always a big part of my life.
Interestingly it was also a time of my life when swimming in the sea with friends was something I really loved doing so very much. It was the freedom, the freedom and liberation…. the sense of expansiveness that the sea gave me that drew me back each time. I love the forest more now because it offers a quiet and a different serenity, but I will always have beautiful memories of these times at the beach.
This painting hung in my granny’s home for many many years and I would always glance at it when we went for Sunday afternoon tea at her home. During my years studying at a Teacher’s Training College… I would visit her in the afternoon and my painting would be there to meet me too.
Here are more seascapes I painted that same year. These were created with water colour.
I am seeing how the ocean with her rhythms, so connected to the moon cycles….become such a mirror to our own Feminine wisdom.
I don’t have paintings I did as a child. However, I do remember two creative moments at school which were the only moments I ever felt I truly belonged in those school benches.
One was an activity involving colour and the way the children around me asked me to show them how to do theirs.
The other was a nature project. My dad helped me to create an actual 3D garden scene with a mirror as a pond in the centre. It had a little bench and a log with plastic trees too. It looked truly amazing. It was a beautiful memory I have of him. My little garden felt a huge success because I created something I really loved.
Looking back … my desire to uplift, calm, inspire and offer a sense of joy and Grace to my granny was why I painted for her.
I dedicate this post and my art journey to her and my grandfather who continue to cheer me on in spirit. There is one other person too…. whom I will weave into my story a bit later.
I love how art can become a balm, a story that can breathe new life into hard experiences.
I love how art can say what words sometimes cannot.
I love how we can offer beauty to someone and elevate their heart in doing so.
PS: Next I will be sharing paintings I created during my early twenties and how they were inspired.