The painting, The Awakening, holds a special place in my heart. It represents the change that has happened inside my own head.
I’ve been able to draw since the age of four. And able to draw recognizable portraits since the age of nine. I truly believed that anybody can create art. It came easy to me, and because it was easy, I didn’t give it the recognition it deserved.
I didn’t think I possessed the artistic skill to call myself an artist. I simply copied, what I saw, from a photograph. To me that was a commercial skill. Not necessarily an artistic one.
But my son, Joshua, born with cerebral palsy, is an artist. He creates the most wonderful paintings. But what he can’t do is be prolific. To achieve his goals, he needed my help. And believe me, portraits have a very limited market. I needed to find some way to create paintings that would have a more universal appeal.
Somehow, I had to find a way to be ‘artistic’. So I took my paper and I chose a few colors and I got it onto the paper. And this is what I got.
I propped the painting up where I could see it every day and lived with it for a week. Slowly, an image started to come to me. My mind started to see a picture. I believe that painting portraits, copying from photographs is more a left-brain activity. It’s logical and controlled.
Creating a painting by allowing the paint to show me what it wanted to be is a whole new way of thinking. I’m convinced that painting this way is a right-brain activity. Not logical or controlled. My brain was literally talking to me. Communicating with me in a whole new way.
This is what I came up with.
The most amazing thing about this process was the explosion of brain activity that followed the completion of this picture. I literally felt like I had opened a door inside my own head, and discovered a treasure trove of ideas. My energy level leaped. But most of all, new words started pouring into my head.
This painting, the Awakening, came to me in a poem. The poem told me what the meaning of this painting is.
Sleeping in darkness, hidden from sight.
Waiting, protected against the cold.
Fragile, soft, potential hidden
Cocooned and safe inside my soul.
Sunshine, warmth, hunger drives me,
Awakens me from dreamless sleep.
Pain and growth, birth comes harshly
Change that time must always bring.
Courage, faith, determination
nudge me forward through the dark.
Metamorphosis of my spirit
Pushes me into the light.
I never know where poetry comes from. It comes to me already written. And this poem explained to me what the Awakening meant. The bear and the butterfly both go through an amazing process. The bear hibernates and I felt like a good portion of my life had been in hibernation.
The bear awakens from it’s winter sleep hungry and I felt like I had awakened and I was so hungry to accomplish my goals. Goals that I hadn’t even been aware of having.
The bear is strong and I felt a powerful rage inside me. I was filled with the most incredible drive to move toward, not only my goals, but to help my son achieve his. The energy that filled me is truly indescribable.
But what about the butterfly. Why did I feel compelled to add that small creature? Again, I was given the answer. A butterfly starts out as one thing, then goes into the cycle of waiting, and changing, and when it emerges it’s another creature entirely.
I felt changed by this painting. I went to bed a wife and mother and woke up something else altogether. It felt like a most amazing metamorphosis. My brain was literally moving in new directions, in new ways, and feeding me ideas at such a rapid rate, I’m sure I missed most of them.
I want to share this story with you because I’m convinced that we all hold elements of change inside us. The trick is to recognize what you truly want out of life, and then to find within yourself the energy and creativeness to go after your dreams.