Friday, August 26, 2011

The Soul of an Artist

nuchylee /

Sometimes we know a person in just one dimension, and when we learn something new about them we are inspired and enriched. My hairdresser, whom I will call "Naomi", recently invited me to peek inside her art studio (a.k.a. a "kitchen" but that is of secondary importance to her). On the wall, on the easel, everywhere I looked I saw oil paintings of rich depth and complexity: landscapes, people, still lifes.  I marveled at her talent and the story behind it.

Noami had desired to paint all of her life, but with a half-dozen children and a career she didn't have the time to pursue it. It was one of those unfulfilled dreams, and at the age of 56 she figured it wasn't practical to consider starting a new hobby.

Enter a 90-year-old customer, who came in for a haircut and style. This lady was an accomplished artist and she encouraged Naomi to "GO FOR IT!"

"But I am 56 years old! What could I possibly accomplish now? Isn't it too late for me to become proficient as an artist?"

The elderly artist replied, "No. I began when I was 60."

That encouragement started Naomi on the path to a new passion. She bought video lessons and after the beauty shop was swept clean and the doors locked, she painted. She painted 7 to 8 hours, oblivious of the time. "It seemed but a few minutes," she recalls.

Within 90 days, she sold her first oil painting.  By the end of the year, she had sold nearly half of the 80+ works that she created.

It wasn't long before Naomi graduated from video lessons to receiving instruction from master artists. Her way is to learn all she can from a given teacher and then move on. A decade later, she is still reaching higher, pursuing a greater level of artistic achievement.

Her next dream? Remodel that kitchen so as to accommodate her art paraphernalia and to convert it to a bona fide studio. 

Meanwhile, she paints. She makes do with the space she has and dreams of a better studio do not rob her of the joy of painting now.

She paints alone. Sometimes she also enjoys the comfortable camaraderie of other artists when she sets up her easel at a local art studio.

I loved lingering after my hair appointment to see Naomi's studio and to listen to her story. So many of us have secret dreams that lay dormant in the heart. We never know when the conditions might converge to awaken that seed to sprout forth to life. Old age holds no fear to the one who can realize that THIS season may just provide the fertile ground for a new interest to flourish.

C.S. Lewis wisely expressed it this way:

"You are never too old
to set another goal
to dream a new dream."


Go quickly and tell said...

Encouraging story....fitting the subtitle of my blog... that everyone has a *hidden* talent :-)

My mother started drawing, then painting, in her fifties as well.

Here's a link to her website.

Carol in Oregon said...

Oh, this is splendid on so many levels. I love the you're-never-too-old-to-learn angle. And the persistence. And her success.

This is great!

Thank you for writing about it.

Poiema said...

Dana--so nice to hear from you! I've been locked out of Xanda for the longest time. Your Mother's artwork is also so inspiring; thank you for sharing the link. Be blessed.

Poiema said...

Carol--thank you so much for your note. I am still enjoying your blog so much and admire your consistency. Hoping, hoping to get back to that myself.