"Is...Was" detail [Final panel in triptych]
Acrylic on Paper
It's no secret that we are going through some tough times in the world right now. Everytime I turn on the television or open a newspaper, there are more stories of doom and gloom. I've myself have been in serious financial turmoil for the past couple of years. They keep saying the worst is yet to come.
I should be scared.
But I'm not.
I'm not stupid, but I do have a different way of looking at things. Instead of seeing the current difficulties as the end of the world, I see them as the transition between this era, and a new one. Granted, no one really knows what this new era will bring, but somewhere inside of me, I have faith that this new world will be a wonderful transformation.
Financial disaster is not a new experience. Not for me, not for this country, not for the world. Growing up in poverty, I learned the difference between really being poverty stricken and just being poor. The difference is hope. That is all.
A person without hope is trapped in their place of destitution. A person with hope can see the blessings and possibilities even in having an empty refrigerator or not being able to afford those needed shoes/heat/housing. It doesn't mean we don't struggle. It means we create with what we have. We create happiness, we create a better situation, we create opportunities.
It's not a coincidence that I chose for this post a painting I did after 9/11. Because it's all about what comes out destruction, loss, pain. And it's also about using art to find that meaning.
One of the things I have become very clear on in my current time of constraints, and through my past struggles, is that art will save the world. Okay, well, art is ONE of the things that will save the world. And it just happens to be MY thing, the thing that I have to give the world.
I'm not just talking about Picasso or Van Gogh or Rembrandt. I'm not even talking about my art. I'm talking about art for everyone. I'm talking about helping others discover the art inside of themselves. When we believe we can create our visions and make them come real on paper, it gets that much easier to create our dreams and put them into reality in the world. When we look at our thoughts and feelings and fears and hopes and give them the respect of listening to them and turning them into something tangible, we begin to understand who we are and what we are made of.
My path in life, is, I think, to inspire people to see the power inside of themselves.
I used to think I just wanted to write books. I thought it was a selfish wish. Then I became a teacher of inner city kids, and I watched the transformative power of art in action. IN ACTION. I saw broken hearts healed. I saw the search for enlightenment. I saw blossoming self-confidence. I saw the recognition of the soul. I saw goals being reached. I saw so many different powers grow in the students I taught. Some friends and I started a women's workshop using art, and the same thing happened. It was amazing and it was evidence. Art can save the world. No matter our circumstances, through art, we can find hope and make a new world for ourselves.
I still want to write and to paint, and I want to share my art and writing with others, but in addition, I want to open a business-- one that is about empowering people through art. This coming year, this is the year when I take the steps to no longer follow someone else's path, but to carve my own.
These ideas have been floating around in my head for quite a while. More than a decade, actually. And now they are closer than ever before. Classes, articles, e-books, chapbooks, blogs, workshops, both online and IRL, inspirational products, like cards and prints and booklets. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but goodness, the ideas make me smile.
So why post about it now?
Well, aside from my plans to focus 2009 on "The Year of the Business Woman," (that would be me, folks. A radical departure from my self-identity in any other year) I am also entering into an HP Giveaway over at Living in Theory, Stop Drop and Blog and at Merlot Mom. They want to know what I would do if I won the booty. How I would help others. This is how I would use that booty to help others. I would start my business. And my business is to empower others.
Oh, there is one other difficulty with this business. My partners, those friends I mentioned, with whom I've been working on this project for years, well, they're spread out over the U.S.-- Virginia, New Orleans, New York, Connecticut, and many of them have been going through financial difficulties of their own. I would do my best to make sure that they all had what they needed so that the whole world could benefit from their wisdom. The printer, the laptops would find their way to those women, software. It's been very hard to organize things when not everyone has access to a computer regularly, and my old computer needs to be replaced to step up into the world the way I want to, but whether or not I win this giveaway (we all know the chances are slim and get slimmer with every entry) I am still going to tackle this dream. It's a dream of helping people discover their own dreams. It's worth the struggle.