And so the journey begins…

The Waterseller of Seville, Velasquez

The Waterseller of Seville, Velasquez (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

This painting changed my life.

I was 16 when I saw it for the first time, in Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces. (Amaaazing book.)

I saw it, and every part of my heart and soul yearned towards it and whispered, “I want to do that.

Last year, I spent 6 months learning how to do that. I was hooked. Six months wasn’t enough. I wanted, needed more.

So I applied to return. As some of you know, I found out last Friday that I was accepted again. What I didn’t mention was the generous scholarship I was given in the name of an alumni of the school who died earlier this year, struck down by cancer.

I also didn’t mention the generosity of a former classmate who believes in me and my dedication so much she’s contributing a large sum towards the costs of the first 3 month program.

The total for tuition and housing for that program came to just over $6500. I received just over $4500 in financial support. I am speechless. I am humbled. I am honoured.

I still have to pay the final $2000ish by next Friday, January 20th. There are still $30,000 in other program expenses and living costs to be paid this year.

But if this isn’t starting on the right foot, I don’t know what is.

I wrote to my newsletter subscribers that I feel like I just took vows at a convent. While I’m excited to be spending the majority of my time in France for 18 months, I’m truly looking forward to so much time spent in the deep meditation and contemplation of my art.

The days have a monastic feel – they are regular, steady, organized. You spend much of your time in silence, studying the model and the flow of life before you. You search deeper every day as you try and understand more and more of what you see.

It’s not easy – it’s a lot of work. But it’s deeply satisfying work.

I realize that I’ve just used “deep” 3 times to describe the coming months, but it’s the best word I can come up with to describe to you what I mean. I am diving deep into my art, both the craft and the poetry; they’re intertwined.

It’s work that’s important to me. It’s what I feel intensely called to do. Getting the acceptance letter was a moment of great peace. Something clicked into place inside of me – thunk.

This is where I’m meant to be.

This is the path I’m meant to be on.

No doubt, nothing. Just…knowing.

On the other hand, I have no idea exactly how I’m meant to pull this off. People keep asking me and it’s making me nervous.

I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep throwing things at the wall, see what sticks. Keep remembering that I have a gift to share, and I need to share it.

If you’d like to join in the adventure and feel called to contribute, there are 2 ways to do this:

1. Join Sketches from the Road. I ran this last year and it was so much fun – this time, it’ll be 18 months of art, travel, food, adventure and a generous dose of silliness, for the suggested contribution price of $20.

Sign up for Sketches from the Road now!

2. Get yourself some artwork! I have pieces available from $75 up to $1000. Fall in love, take it home, have a constant reminder of just how much space there is for your soul and your dreams. It’s a story that always has a happy ending.

Buy yourself and your walls something beautiful!

I will also accept pom pom shaking and general cheering and joy-wishing. :)

And thank you for all of your support in just getting this far. You guys are the greatest.