The Muse

I think I was lucky in a way compared to many aspiring artists in that my family, my mom in particular, was quite supportive of my art career ambitions.  I wasn’t subjected to the typical skepticism and concern expressed by so many that it was not a realistic career choice, and that you should choose another vocation, even if just as a ‘back up’ plan. 

Of course, I was called into the councilor’s office in my senior year in high school and with a very worried expression he asked me why I had chosen art and typing for my electives instead of any advanced math or science courses.  I explained to him that I was going to be a professional artist and that I didn’t need any of that.  He suggested I should take some anyway, just in case.  He was wrong, esp. about typing!  So, I went on to get a university degree in fine arts, thinking that would be the logical choice for someone wanting to become a professional artist.  I was wrong about that, but that is another story. 

I also have fond memories of a high school friend that was very supportive and encouraging.  Her name was Katherine, she liked to be call ‘Kat’.  We sat together in art class and as we worked on our projects, we would chat about all things esoteric and philosophical.  We were teenagers, so, probably not very profound or insightful, but I so looked forward to those times.  Several years ago, when I was visiting my family home, I even had a very lucid dream where she showed up declaring that she was a very special person to me in high school, and it reminded me of how important Kat had been in my decision to become an artist.  I can even attribute my first public art display to the support and confidence I received from Kat.  I had made an illustration of Bilbo's meeting with the dragon Smaug from the book 'The Hobbit'.  With her encouragement, I agreed to have the painting displayed in the school's lobby.  In a school with approximately 4000 students, this was a big deal for me.  My first public art display.  It meant a lot.

I found this painting in a box filled with my childhood and high school art projects a few years ago when I was visiting our family home where one of my older brothers still lives. 

I also found this drawing I did of Kat in our art class as she was chosen to pose for one our ‘life drawing’ lessons. We were about 15 years old. I remember that I had struggled to get her facial features correct, I did not succeed very well.  See the picture below.  

I did not stay in touch with Kat after graduation and even though her mother and mine had become friends by then, I was not aware of where her life had taken her.  I did a search for her on the internet and what I discovered shocked and saddened me.  It was simply her name on a list of grave stones in a local cemetery with the date of her passing in the year 1996.  I found out that Kat had died of an unknown sickness during her travels in Indonesia at the age of 37.  I called her mom and asked if we could meet to talk about Kat.  She was glad to do so and even gave me a couple of pictures of her daughter. 

I was also fortunate to find a life partner that was also very supportive of my goals and life choices.  I made some decisions that most would consider irrational and reckless to get where I am and Lana has never waivered in her commitment to let me choose my own path. 

One a hike in the mountains and taking photos for my art with my muse.  

This is a great gift, to have a such a muse, and I have much gratitude.   I have heard countless stories over the years of people that did not have the kind of support and encouragement they hoped for and it can be very heart breaking as your life progresses in a direction that is not of your choosing. 

Whatever your inspiration or aspirations are, I hope you have those special people in your life that support you not matter what.  If not, then by all means, be your own muse.