This blog post today is very personal one for me. But it is something I feel drawn to share with you. I have been blessed over the years to meet some great fellow artists through the many art shows which I was a participant. Occasionally I have purchased from a select few and love not only having their work in my home and studio. And because I know them all personally, I feel their wonderful, creative energy too.
For Art’s Sake
About 18 months ago I purchased this fabulous piece of art from Ryan Hayes, an artist, who up until that moment, I had never met before. Poor guy must have thought I was totally wacky when I wandered into his art show booth at a show I which I was also was also exhibiting. As I stood in front of this painting i was instantly obsessed. Tears welled in my eyes and even to this day I still find it difficult to understand much less describe what I felt. Ryan was helping another customer but he glanced at me, as if to say “I’ll be right with you.” Slightly embarrassed by my tears and without a word, I quickly dashed out of his booth and back to my own and immersed myself with my own business of the show. But I couldn’t stop thinking about his magnificent painting of a complex, powerful wave and the emotion I felt standing in front of it. I felt it beckoning me to it. I made another excuse to my husband to run back into Ryan’s booth.
Why Was this Speaking to Me?
I was mesmerized by it… filled with so much emotion that I was having trouble sorting out what I was feeling. The ocean has always held a special place in my heart. Raised in Hawai’i, surrounded by its beauty, I know all too well the power it has to bring forth life and then, just as quickly, take it away. Saying I love the ocean is an over simplification of what I feel. I am awed by it. I respect it. I honor it. I have always felt my heart sync to the rhythm of the waves. My life seems to ebb and flow with the tides and being in or near the water is my happy place. To be drawn to images of the ocean is not uncommon for me but this one was calling me in a way nothing ever had before.
Need VS Want?
“I need this painting” I declared as I stood in front of the artist, feebly trying to find the words to introduce myself and explain I was a fellow artist at the show.
“You want to buy it?,” he questioned. It’s not very common for an artist to spontaneously buy another artist’s original art at a show, much less one they don’t know.
“Yes” I said, “I NEED it. “
As I stood in front of Ryan, wrapping up the sale of this painting, I neglected to tell him what this painting really meant to me at that very moment.
The truth of it…
What Ryan didn’t know was that I had just buried my oldest daughter the week before. After five years fighting breast cancer she had passed away. Before she died, we’d talked about life and death. Among so many other precious words we shared, she charged me to cherish every minute of my life and to embrace all the joy and beauty life has to offer.
After she died, I wondered how I would ever even breathe again much less embrace life. Now here I was staring at this painting holding back tears. Life had given me so much and then, like the ocean with all its power and glory, in an instant had taken it away. And now my charge from my daughter was to move on, to embrace life, embrace beauty and celebrate her life by embracing my own. At that very moment, as I stood in front of this magnificent painting that so reminded me of my childhood home, and my great love for the ocean, my heart leaped. I felt joy. My daughter was dead yet here I stood feeling such joy. Yes, for me art … and the ocean has that power.
It beckons me still…
Today this painting hangs in the very most prominent spot in my own art studio where I see it all day, every day. I have taken the liberty to name this painting “Pe’ahi.”… a Hawaiian word meaning “to beckon”. It inspires me to create, it uplifts me when I’m sinking and empowers me to embrace life.
One Last thought:
As I close this blog entry today, I am compelled to share with you this one last thought I hope you will come to know for yourself.
Art has the power to touch souls and change lives. Art can bring us joy, help us relive memories and prod us to move forward. It can tell the unwritten stories of our lives in a language only we can understand. And it doesn’t have to match your sofa… it only needs to match your soul.
Pe’ahi matches my soul.
Much Thanks to Ryan for creating this masterful work of his heART. God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. I believe, unknowingly,he was moved to paint this… Just. For. Me. To see more work of my new friend and fellow artist like him on his FB page at: Art By Ryan Hayes