It’s hard to explain the jealousy I felt when I watched my two year-old daughter paint abstractly. The envy that cropped up as she painted her forearms—first the right, then the left—her skin becoming the single most beautiful canvas I’ve ever seen. (She also had paint up her nose. When you’re an enthusiastic artist, these things happen.)
At that point, I was rockin’ and rolling. I had my BFA and MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. I’d had illustrations featured in Esquire magazine, The New York Times review of books, and Strathmore Paper Products. I liked these things.
But dangit—I had to start painting again. It wasn’t a calling. It was a loud need, shouting from my life’s core. (And let me tell you, it would not be quieted, no matter how many times I banged on the ceiling with the end of a broom.)
Needless to say, I listened. Picked up a paintbrush and found endless exuberance is pairing together feelings that create snippets of joy, ready to be enjoyed. Once upon a time, my mom asked me to wear yellow to her funeral. I didn’t, but I paint with it a lot, each new line and splash a homage to home and the beginnings of a window into our resilience, hope, and heart.
My current work has lit up rooms at the Massachusetts State House and Cary Memorial Library, not to mention quite a few national exhibitions. And lemme tell you: getting to sprinkle around that seemingly untouchable spirit of life totally lights my fire.
Ultimately, art is undoubtedly a dare. To allow yourself to laugh—loudly, and shamelessly. To give yourself permission to let your liveliness loose in a field of hot pink wildflowers. And to realize, then accept, that you deserve pure, undiluted joy.