Santa brought us a chalkboard for Christmas, the kind that covered the entire wall of the playroom. Dad hung it up, so securely, I’m pretty sure it still hangs on that wall to this day. With dusty fingers I became an expert at drawing medieval princesses, crooked apple trees, erupting volcanoes and all sorts of flowers. I learned to draw and label the entire human skeletal system on that board as well as the map of Canada, naming all its provinces, capital cities, lakes and rivers.
I have always been a person who draws. When we moved to pastor a church in a small town on the Gaspé peninsula, I went into the mall, offering to paint Christmas scenes of fireplaces and stockings on shop windows for $10 a window.
A few years later a wonderful artist near Quebec city taught me the beauty and movement of oils. I gave most of these paintings away as gifts, sold a few, and some still hang in my in-law’s living room.
Then we moved to Thailand and along came adversity which warred against my creativity. Adversity won. For almost twenty years I didn’t draw or paint. In 2012 my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He survived a 7-hour surgery, which was a complete success. This shook me awake, made me realise that tomorrow is not a guarantee, that there will never be a perfect time, circumstance or situation that will allow me to start creating again. So I started doodling. I remembered the chalkboard, and the way I used to confidently tell everyone “I’m an artist”.
On Facebook I stumbled upon some urban sketches of a local Thai artist, and my soul was stirred by the beauty of practiced imperfection. How can someone get away with art that looks so sloppy but so beautiful at the same time? I called him, we met up. Since that day I have been determined to become a watercolour artist.
Seth Godin said it takes 10,000 hours of doing something until you become an expert. I couldn’t imagine anything more fun than 10,000 hours of practicing with watercolours.
So for the last 4 years, I have been studying and practicing. I painted through our move from Bangkok to Paris, France, where we now live. Has it been 10,000 hours yet? I don’t know. Among the practices have been a few good flukes. But more importantly, the images I paint have been something intentional and something I can do again and again.
I am excited to share this with you, and once I click ‘publish’ there is no turning back. I am an artist!