Friday, April 20, 2007


This is me. Actually, it is a school picture put through a filter, then painted in watercolor of me. A crazy self portrait with bright colors and a big smile. I have loved to draw and paint since I was a child, but once I started teaching English in the 1970's there wasn't much time to devote to these activities. I would start projects, then abandon them for months because there were lessons to plan, essays to correct, meetings to attend, activities to supervise. When I found time for myself I tended not to devote it to art.

This changed in 1997 when my dear friend Kathy, who was an art teacher, potter and watercolorist died of a brain tumor at age 47. She had been a powerhouse of energy, an athlete, and a person who created bold and beautiful artwork. She invited me many times to come paint with her in her studio, but I always resisted, afraid that my work would be terrible compared to hers. But when she was gone I realized something. I am not going to live forever. If I wait until it is perfectly convenient, I will never create anything. If I never paint, I'll never be any good. She will never joyously paint another bright abstract watercolor, or throw another pot, but I am still here and I can. So I decided to start doing art again, to honor her memory, and for me. Here is a poem she wrote about what she tried to do with her art.

by Katherine M. Belling

To paint with spirit.
To paint with controlled spontaneity.
To feel color.
To feel petal edges, sunlit summer flowers, moving
streams, jagged rocks, snow crystals.
To view nature's subtle stratifications.
To soar above nature's match-works.
To smell damp soil, swamp stream beds, mowed hay,
cold silage, wild roses, dry fall leaves.
To love land.
To reminisce childhood:
May flowers in the woods by the hockey pond,
Purple violets along Van Boxtel Road,
Wild pink roses in weed-filled ditches,
Yellow mustard in green oat fields,
Stringy roots interwined with rich black soil
needed for Dad's farm fields.
To love land.
To encapsulate nature's sensations through edges,
shapes, forms, and color.
To paint with controlled spontaneity.
To paint with spirit.

1 comment:

sharon said...

In the process of browsing my book shelves to list the titles on Shelfari, I revisited my art books and realized how much I missed drawing and painting. Making art has given me much pleasure in the past, but the demands of life (and my own impatience in mastering the craft) made me set it aside a couple of years ago.
But now I am newly inspired. I've set up my paints and decided to stop worrying about producing a masterpiece and focus on the pleasure of moving paint around.
Your website is a bit of an inspiration, too.
So, thanks! Sharon