At first things looked shaky…she needed my help with organizing and setting up. The moment before putting paint on a blank canvas is unnerving for anyone, all the more so when what you know what you want to do but have no way to do it. She had a beautiful photo of ocean, fjord and glacier from their recent Alaskan cruise, a retirement gift from her husband, and that was what she wanted to paint on her 16x20 canvas.
It became increasingly clear as the minutes went by that this was a mountain she wouldn't be able to climb. But there had to be something within her that could still produce art, maybe even better art! I've watched this same woman, in spite of her condition, cut and style the hair of homeless men and women at the winter Room in the Inn shelter our church provides. Her caring, non-judgmental hands giving value and dignity to hurting souls. "Oh God," I prayed, "let me do the same for her today. Please! make Your art through her."
So we talked about her photo..the water was cold blue, white wild, power, immensity, dangerously beautiful; the snow: white frozen, terrible and wondrous; the sky: huge and blue and covering. Then I went to my own easel and left her to play in the paint. I silently praised God when I heard her brush and then palette knife scraping and slapping the canvas. Her courage inspired my own painting that day, as I painted as wild as she did, loose and expressive, feeling the subject and following instinct. Time is so funny when you are lost in your passion; a hint of eternal timelessness maybe. We both painted on my covered, Southern deck on a sweet summer day and (I think) the world is a little better for it.