Embracing my Artistic Abilities • by Lynn Richards
A Safe Haven with Art
Growing up in a crazy, dysfunctional, alcoholic home, I found places I could hide. From a very early age, those places were my journal, God, and my grandmotherʼs home. My grandmother was an art teacher in Carpinteria, California, and every summer we would spend a week or so at her mobile home.
I can still close my eyes and feel the warmth and smell the deliciousness of scents that I still connect with peace and calm. There was no drinking or fighting in her home. Instead, there was clay and watercolors and paper and tools and Japanese brushes. There were sun-filled days of learning to lay a wash, forming an animal from clay and learning to glaze it, being taught to throw on a kick wheel, and feeling the heat of a kiln. There were trips to the beach and the smell of lighter fluid used to get the tar off of our feet. And quiet. So much quiet.
A Turning Point
My love of the scents of paper, clay, and paint followed me all my life. I found a safe haven first in high school in the art room and later in the art room at Jr. College, where I would lug 25 pounds of clay in at a time and lose all sense of time.
My mother demanded a career path from me somewhere during my second year at the J.C. and I (of course) chose art. She immediately forbade the idea and tried to push for a future in computers. This was a turning point in my life, one where I wished I wasn’t the child in the family who kept the peace at any cost. Instead of rebelling and telling my mother to take a hike and follow my passion, I took my utterly defeated self out of school and found myself managing a bakery for a large grocery store chain. I was all of 20 years old.
During the next 30 years, a lot of growth occurred. I married, my husband and I found Adult Children of Alcoholics, and I had a baby. I never gave up on art, but it wasn’t my main pursuit. I had a second baby in my early thirties and she happened to come to us with Down Syndrome. To say she has rocked our world for the better is an understatement. Through both my children I have learned to pursue passion, to play, to love unabashedly, to be determined. I have learned to slay some of my dragons, stand up tall, embrace (some) imperfection, and to love with everything I have.
How have I done it, people ask me? At first I would say Jesus and therapy. Now I say Jesus, therapy, and ART.
Today, I am staring down my 51st birthday, and I have fully embraced my artistic abilities with the complete support of my husband and family. I am an artist. How could I be anything else? It is in my genetics, in my blood. The life lessons I have learned and am still learning come out on the canvas, begging to be told, craving to be heard by someone else who might benefit from the message.
To learn more about Lynn Richards, visit alittlebluesky.blogspot.com.