Note: This post is a slightly edited version of a post from my personal blog in July 2013. When sitting down to write this post, I couldn't help but re-tell this story. I hope you enjoy it.
When I was in college, I decided that I would call myself a painter. I had a good friend that was very talented, and after dabbling in creative arts, writing, and crafts my entire life, this friend inspired me to break into the world of painting. I painted with any medium I could get my hands on, trying new things and learning as I went. I wanted to be self-taught, like many artistic greats we learn about in art history. I devoured books on Vincent van Gogh and took weekly trips to the art supply store to build up my stash of tools. I painted things that meant something to me, and while I probably wasn't very skilled, it was a very prolific time in my life.
Time went on. I graduated from college, got a full time job, and painted less and less. But during my period as a painter, I found myself fascinated by one subject in particular: the human heart. A tangible, beating drum inside our chest, the symbolic seat of our emotions. Keeping us alive, keeping our passions fed. I studied the human heart in many medium: oil, acrylic, collage, watercolor. My paintings were never anatomically correct but they were full with emotions that were buried in my chest. Most times my heart painting were intended for one person, my love, my then-boyfriend who is now my husband and the father of my children.
When our 8 week old son was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, it suddenly became clear why I was so invested in the heart all of those years before. I was always intended to be a heart mom. While Elliott recovered in the hospital we broke all of my old paintings out of storage and filled his room in the Cardiac Unit with them. Nurses and doctors were floored that they had been painted 8 years or more before Elliott was even conceived. And there, in that somber hospital room they sat, radiating the love I had poured into them years before, I hope, to help my sweet heart baby to recover.
Lately I have been finding myself inspired both to spread awareness about CHD as well as to break out my paints again. I am finding that, more than ever, our talents can be used for more than just personal gain. In this case, wearing my heart on my (canvas) sleeve as a means to share my story. Our story. A story filled with love, triumph, challenge, and lots of heart.
|A piece I made for my husband on Valentine's Day, 2005|