The bold color on canvas, the graceful arc of the brushstroke. I was mesmerized by the seemingly large painting of brilliantly colored flowers. So many colors living side by side and yet, something about them flowed into one, creating the whole.
This was my first introduction to painting, I was 14 and I fell in love with Georgia O’Keeffe. My first painting was that of the inside of a tulip and my high school art teacher quickly became my closest confidant and cheerleader.
I had always loved to draw, but creating art soon became an obsession after I took that first painting class. I was a freshman in high school and all I could think about was getting in to art school so I could paint.
I was fortunate enough to live near Chicago, a mere half hour’s drive to the Art Institute. I went every chance I could. I was even luckier to be able to attend the last exhibit of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work that traveled while she was still alive.
I’ll never forget the excursion to the museum because my dad went with me. The paintings that I thought were so large, weren’t. Most of her paintings were tiny, some even smaller than the actual flower she rendered with such detail.
I was enthralled. All I wanted, more than anything was to create art like Georgia O’Keeffe. My art teacher even went so far as to take me to some local art colleges to give me an idea of what I could accomplish.
That’s when my mother put her foot down. She didn’t approve of college. We argued, over and over and over again. I wanted nothing else, she refused to budge. I was crushed, really without the support, I didn’t see how I could make it.
My art teacher, tried to intervene, but that only made things worse. My father, ever the peace-maker, urged me to make amends with my mother. I couldn’t. I didn’t see how living at home and merely existing was worth ‘peace’ with my mother.
I was barely 17 when we had that last argument. The one that cemented my decision to leave. Sad, really, how quickly those child-like dreams are replaced with grown-up decisions about living.
Through everything that is my life, there is still a piece of me deeply enthralled with the world of painting. Someday I will rekindle my passion for creating art.
For now I am content to dream.
This post was inspired by the Studio 30 Plus prompt “Childhood Dreams”