The one and only self-portrait I'm likely to do. This one has been in progress for the last 2 years, which have been full of self-discovery and massive personal growth and change. As pieces of my self have come to light, so pieces of the portrait have revealed themselves (and continue to do so). I look forward to seeing where it goes - and where I go - as I continue to grow and evolve. I am also a work in progress.
This is the first painting I did on Kauai. During my first trip there in November 2015, I lived simply, camped on beaches around the island, painted and marvelled in each moment, at the incredible beauty, abundance and power of the land.
This piece may not look like much - it's just a little one, 20x16" - but it is really special to me because it comes with a story...a story that really inspired me to follow my path as an artist, and that resulted in it remaining unfinished.
I had never approached a gallery owner to exhibit my work when I walked into a big gallery in Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of Kauai. I asked the owner whether he'd be interested in showing my work. I didn't even have a website at this point so all I could show him was this piece, in progress. He was keen and so we got chatting. (First win! So happy! A real gallery, full of amazing art, is going to host my art as well!) Then, a wonderful couple named Karen and Kent (probably in their 60s), who had been browsing the gallery for an hour, approached us and asked to see the painting in my hand. Karen instantly fell in love with the piece and praised it profusely, pointing out a stunning array of symbolism in it that I hadn't even realised! (She even turned it upside down to find more significance!) They asked me what I would be willing to sell it for, then offered me double what I had suggested! (Win 2!!) I was shocked and overjoyed that my art had touched someone so deeply! My first foray into the art world was looking promising! A sign from the universe? I thanked them, but said it wasn't finished and that I just needed 1 more day to work on it. Karen insisted that it is perfect as it is and asked that they could take it with them on the spot. Well. Yes indeed! And, if that wasn't magical enough, we had a long chat after and connected deeply, on a what felt like a soul level. They said they were "adopting me as another one of their daughters", welcoming me to come stay with them any time, asking that I please come visit them when I next find myself in Utah or California. (Win 3!!!)
So, this piece is truly special to me because the circumstances that manifested around its creation and sale anchored my resolve to a) take the plunge to become a full time artist, b) come back to Kauai to do so, and c) proved to me that old programs I was running around not being "good enough" to be a "real artist", or that my work would only appeal to my generation were bogus. (The BIGGEST win!)
I relay this story partly because you may be unaware of how much your support of someone might mean to them - you could change the course of their life. The inspiration and confidence instilled in me in that moment will last a lifetime and I'm infinitely grateful. This is a path my soul has yearned for my entire life, but I lacked the confidence to know I could take this on successfully. My time on Kauai, the island of healing, has changed this. If you are reading this, thank you for being a part of this healing, and of my dreams. I can't even express the depth of my gratitude.