Finding Myself • by Lorrie Spotts
In 2008, I was feeling pretty lost. This is not such an unusual story for a busy, working
mom. Or any mom really. Or any woman for that matter. But let me just get down to it—
here is how my Art Saves story begins …
Taking the Leap
My husband was away on a fun trip with his friends. While he was gone I found myself feeling resentful. And jealous. And mad. After I put my young kids to bed, I began searching the web. I am not sure quite exactly for what, but I was searching. I found myself reading my first blog post from a woman who was teaching a scrapbooking class. She described this as a retreat where hundreds of women would gather to take several different classes. I live in Los Angeles. The retreat was in Nashville. I had never travelled without my children or my husband. I had only been on a plane a few times in my entire life. There were many reasons not to go on this trip. But I took a leap.
I signed myself up. It was an interesting conversation when my husband came home. But my husband is supportive, always has been. He gave me his encouragement and off I went. I cut and glued and created for three days straight. It felt blissful.
Picking Up my First Paintbrush
But then I came home and eventually that feeling of being lost continued. I heard about another retreat, this time in North Carolina. It was a different kind of event where classes were in “multi-media” art. I had never heard of this. This retreat did not start off well.
Ladies were gossipy, one of my least favorite things. Classes were packed and to be honest, not organized well. It gives me a headache thinking about it even now. The one class that I was not looking forward to was a painting class. The artist did these beautiful faces, but it looked way beyond my ability since I had never painted.
It was first of the day and I thought that I would just get it over with. I walked in, and picked up my first paintbrush. That was it for me. I just knew deep in my bones, that was it. I had to keep doing this. I can barely remember the other classes I took on this long weekend. Late into the night I found myself alone and working on this painting of a brown-haired girl. Her eyes were vacant, she was one-dimensional, and there was nothing in the background. I could relate to her. I saw that she could be improved.
Following a Fulfilling Path
Once I got home I began a more specific search. First I went to bookstores looking for artists that spoke to me. I fell in love with Kees van Dongen, Vera Neumann, Anahata Katkin, Stephen Mackey, DJ Pettit, and Flora Bowley. Then I began to sign up for online classes where I learned a bit about backgrounds, color choices, and texture. I practiced when I could. During meetings at work I doodled and sketched. My meetings became more interesting, and I became more productive in them. I began meeting people online with similar interests. I followed blogs of artists that I admired. Instead of feeling like I was lost, I found myself on a very specific path.
My feeling of being lost is gone. I do still feel overwhelmed at times. Mad at times. Too busy most times. But at night I close my eyes. I imagine colors that I like, faces that I might paint, classes that I could take, new shapes that appeal to me. I go into another world and it relaxes me. It guides me. It fulfills me.
These days I paint whenever I can. It is not every day and often not even every week. But when life gets tough, I know it is time to sit down with my brushes. I roll my shoulders a few times. I close my eyes. I take a deep breath, and continue finding myself.
To learn more about Lorrie Spotts, visit laspotts.blogspot.com.