Living Fully & Sharing Now :: by Sunshine Barlowe Lewis
My name is Sunshine, and yes, that is my real name (I get asked that at least once a day). Though my parents deliberated for two days after my birth as to what my name should be, "Sunshine" was the name they settled on. I live in Virginia with my amazing, supportive husband who encourages me to do what inspires me most. I also have two wild boys whom I love madly and who constantly keep me on my toes.
I come from a family of wildly talented people-- musicians, poets, singers -- we were surrounded by music growing up, and so I developed a love for it as a very young age. Even now, I find that I always have music playing when I'm painting and will often be singing along as well. My parents, who are themselves very creative, have always encouraged my brothers and me to do what we love and are passionate about- even if it goes against the norm-and I love them for that.
I imagine many artists feel this way, but becoming a "professional artist" was never my goal in life; however, I do remember thinking, as I daydreamed and doodled at school, that I would like to someday be a mom and artist. I feel very blessed now to have accomplished both.
I did eventually progress from doodling in class to more serious forms of art--initially painting murals in nurseries. The first mural I painted was for my friend Ramey who was expecting a baby boy. Ramey was more than just a friend; she was a college roommate whom I had come to love like a sister. Though I was hesitant at first to paint on such a large canvas as a wall, she convinced me it would be amazing. Ramey's influence didn't stop there. She encouraged me to dream. She encouraged me to write. She encouraged me to pursue my talents and do it because God created me that way. In 2008, Ramey passed away, and I found myself in a place where art became something I did out of necessity to cope. It was my therapy in a sense because I missed her so much. It amazes me now to look back at the paintings I did during this time and see how despite the pain and sadness I was feeling, they are still filled with hope and joy -- a testimony to God's faithfulness to give me rest from th! e flood of spiritual questions I was wrestling with.
Losing Ramey also pushed me to share my art NOW and not wait a minute longer, knowing we are never promised tomorrow. Now when I see color, or play music, or sing...when I eat good food, when I love my neighbor, when I live FULLY, I think about Ramey and am grateful for how her life and love so deeply affected me. Were it not for her, I don't know if I would have had the courage to take this next step and go public with my art.
This website is the culmination of years of mulling over what I really want to do when I grow up. My hope is that when you see my art..it inspires you..and you see a little bit of me and a lot of yourself.
To learn more, visit www.sunshinebarlowe.com.