I've been following that dream ever since.
Ten years ago this week, my beloved mother-in-law, Anna, passed away suddenly. She was the matriarch of our family and a friend to many, especially in her local community. Her unexpected death was shocking to all of us. Two nights after she died, I had a vivid dream of a colorful painting full of all the things Anna loved. Her grandchildren, Hawaii, rainbows, dolphins, bees, and the big, beautiful ocean.
I woke up startled but grabbed a piece of paper and sketched out what I saw in my dream to not lose any of this image. Over the next two months, I worked on this painting, and without realizing creating art soon became my therapy to get through the grieving. It also stirred my soul to create, share, and spread the color and joy I saw in the dream.
This painting was my way of saying goodbye and keeping Anna alive at the same time. The poem in the middle was written by her lifelong best friend, Rosemary, and I knew it needed to somehow work its way into the painting.
Everything changed the day I picked up those art supplies and started creating art again. I painted in the evenings, early mornings, on the weekends, went to art workshops, took online classes, found artists to love. I painted in the kitchen, in the dining room, outside, anywhere. I was consumed with making art, and it lit me up inside.
When I finished my dream painting, I put it away and went on with my life working and raising a family. Years later, well into my art journey, I looked at it again and saw so many similarities in my artwork today—the color palette and whimsical imagery, as well as the heart wings at the top, p;us so much more!
As the months went by after Anna died, life carried on, and somehow, we got back to doing our usual things. I worked in the corporate world and raised my family, but my craving to continue making art was unshakeable. Anna was an artist, and I soon inherited all her art supplies which always gave me the feeling that all the art I am creating was in her honor. Her spirit animal is a hawk, and the sightings of these beautiful creatures, while I am painting, have been too numerous to count.
I kept working in my 9-5 job, but the itch to follow my passion kept getting stronger as the years went by. I decided to try and sell some art part-time. I opened up an Etsy shop and sold some art prints and greeting cards at local art fairs on the weekends. I was about to turn 50, and even though I thoroughly enjoyed my career, I didn't want to spend the rest of my life "working for the man." I finally quit my day job - and then landed my dream job.
After a few years of juggling my career, family, and passion for painting, I took a giant leap and jumped. I jumped right into the dream of colorful flowers, vibrant and joyful imagery. My amazing, supportive husband built me a studio space and said, "just do it"! I've never looked back and am so grateful for this journey I am on.
While Anna is no longer with us in this physical world, I feel she is with me spiritually. During the past ten years, some of my biggest life lessons are deeply rooted in her beliefs of how she led her life.
Being more present
Living with more gratitude
Enjoying Mother Earth
Giving back and serving others
Taking workshops and creative classes
The power of the Universe
I know Anna is smiling down on me and blessing this life I created for myself. This dream of 10 years ago is still so valuable in my life today, and I haven't stopped making art since that night, and I know I never will. Creativity is my superpower and a guiding force in almost everything I do.