Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Power of Saying Yes

"Infinite Love" 2009
Acrylic & Mixed Media

After First Friday Art Walk last night over drinks with friend, mentor, and fellow artist Laurie Maves I shared with her that the day we met changed my life forever. It is all because I said Yes.

I discovered Laurie and her work online late one night back in May when Google imaging other Denver artists. Out of curiosity I wondered if there was anyone else living in this spiritual Mecca I now call home feeling compelled to paint circles. Since these aura like images also haunt some of Laurie’s paintings it didn’t take me long to find her.

Laurie’s work is both dark and light in her use of color, as well as the emotions her paintings convey. I could study the somber faces with spirit orb eyes and the trippy, drippy poppies for hours as the symbolism and built up paint layers transport me to another plane of existence. But it’s not just her paintings that speak to me, it’s all the philanthropic work she does. So the night I discovered her I sent an email and asked her to let me know of opportunities to paint AND support a cause.

Not use to the kindness of strangers back in Michigan, I wasn’t expecting Laurie to email me back, but she did and invited me to visit her at an upcoming show. I get goose bumps recalling our first conversation. It was like standing at a cross road and what I said, Yes or No, would determine my fate forever.

When Laurie asked me if I am a painter I hesitated because up until that moment I had not given myself that title. Sure, I’ve always been expressing myself creatively in some capacity, but I didn’t have a name for it. But then it occurred to me that Yes, I paint, so I am a painter!

I’ve been painting nearly every day since arriving in January. It’s part of why I came out here: to simplify my life, establish healthier boundaries with the ones I love, and to once and for all, create the place and space in my life to allow myself to paint with consistency. When I started painting again five years ago I was only averaging one painting per year. It was all I could produce in my limited free time with the responsibilities of living in a house and the social expectations of living twenty minutes from family. But since moving out here I’m averaging one to two paintings per month.

I said Yes again when Laurie asked me that first night if I was showing anywhere. Granted, I was only showing one painting, “Infinite Love,” and it was the first show that I had ever submitted a piece of my work to. But I was showing in the “Mandala” juried fine art show at Mile Hi Church so I said Yes, because it was true, I was showing somewhere!

Back in Detroit I haunted a few galleries, hung out with a couple working artists, and occasionally took a painting class, but it wasn’t until I moved to Denver that I found the courage to start submitting my work. I am grateful that I found this courage because had I wavered, had I answered No or down played the significance of my painting practices in response to Laurie’s questions, the world as I know it today would not exist.

So I keep saying Yes to every artistic opportunity that comes my way and it seems that the more I say Yes, the more opportunities the Spirit of the Universe gives me to say Yes to. This is an enormous challenge as I work full-time and therefore have less time to paint than I would like. But to have more opportunities to show than I have work to hang is a problem I don’t mind having. It just means I need to be mindful of the things I say No to so that I can see Yes to the things that I want to.

I said Yes again last night when Laurie invited me to paint live with her at Tommypolooza in November to support a children’s charity. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the thought of painting in front of a live audience and on an easel (of which I don’t own yet because I paint flat) doesn’t scare the shit out of me. But what an awesome opportunity to paint with purpose for a children’s charity, plus, paint in front of a live audience, grooving to live music, with the amazing and talented Laurie Maves at my side. Can life get any better than this?

Details to come regarding the Tommypolooza live painting event.

To see Laurie Maves paintings and learn about her philanthropic work visit

1 comment:

  1. Good on ya to jump off that cliff. Painting live would be harder for me than speaking to a large audience. bravo