Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Branching Out (in a book)

I want to share a "branching out/out on a limb" story with you.

Last week I received my copy of a new book that has just been released.
Patti Digh has just written yet another awesome book that is just full of art from all over the world!
"What I Wish For You: Simple Wisdom For a Happy Life" is also a place that holds a piece of my artwork.

A very special piece of artwork.

I'll go out on a limb here and tell you the heartfelt sentiment of this piece.
For some reason, I've always been hesitant to talk about my inspiration for certain pieces of artwork.
I can talk freely in person and in my classes but tend to shy away from that on my blog or other places on the internet .
I have artwork in two other books that Patti wrote and received a special invitation to create for her latest book.

It had not been very long since my mother in law had passed away and my husband and I were beginning to become very concerned about my father in laws well being.
He was so sad, so lost...
He seemed so lonely.

We had been staying at his house some, helping with various things/just trying to be there for him, when I set up my easel in the sun room.
Behind their house is a large open pasture with a line of beautiful trees on the back property line.
I spent a couple of days there- drawing and painting, gathering inspiration and allowing art to begin heal my soul.
When I went home, I had several completed pieces of artwork. One piece really told the story of what had taken place.

A few weeks later, I received the invitation from Patti.
I sent in this particular piece because I loved it - because it had an important message, told a story that was important to me but I had never told Patti the story.
I had actually sent the piece in to illustrate an essay. Patti emailed me saying that they had picked a different piece of artwork to illustrate the story that I had been sent but would I mind them using my artwork for a poem she had...?
I read the poem and I immediately had tears spring into my eyes.

I'll explain the piece of artwork and then you read the poem.

"The Sloan Tree"

The large tree is my father in law - bent in his grief, standing apart from his family. My husband and I are the two smaller trees, interlocked (and trying to figure out what to do while we're standing there). In the tall (father in law) tree, you may be able to see a little bird on the branches and a larger bird flying towards the tree. This represents my sister in law (who was at the house with us at the time) and brother in law (who was coming down to SC very soon). They had lived out of state for several years and were just moving back "home" to SC.
We were all gathered around the lonely figure of my father in law...not knowing quite what to do but standing there anyway...just being there, being close to him lest he needed us.
We cooked.
We walked.
We laughed.
We cried.
We listened.

I never told Patti or her editor this story (until after they choose the poem for my painting to illustrate)...

not a whisper of the story.

This is the poem that they choose to pair my artwork with -

"Stay Close"

When sorrow comes
to those you love
stay close.

When sadness is
more powerful than words
more powerful
than deeds
your warm hand
your quiet company
your self in a chair
saying nothing
will be a gift.

You may wonder
"What can I do?"
There may be
you can do.

You may wish
to run.
Do not run.

Hold hands.
Eat soup.
Trace a sunbeam
with your fingers
on the table.

Let yourself smile.
Let yourself cry.

When sorrow comes
to those you love
stay close.

When sorrow comes
to you
let others
stay close too.

-contributed by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater


Isn't that just a powerful story?

So, today, I'm branching out- I'm being brave and sharing this story with you all.
Sharing the true inspiration behind a piece of my artwork...
and sharing what it touched in another.

And I want to give a very special shout out to Amy (waving!).
What a beautiful, heart-warming poem you wrote!
Your words gave me the courage to share my inspiration, they brought it to life on that very page.
Thank you so very much!

So branch out, go out on a limb and share your art along with your stories.
You just never know when someone else will see what you were trying to say.


Joanne Huffman said...

A lovely tribute and the perfect matching of words to painting.

KatrinaRecycled said...

That is so lovely, art and poetry together, complimenting each other.
For me, art is poetry in pictures and this is another example of it.
Thank you so much for sharing!

Mary said...

Carol your work of art is beautiful as well as the heart behind it.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, and the poem fits so perfectly with it all.

Grace and Peace

How's you Father-in-law doing?

Windy Hills Happenings said...

Carol...what a beautiful story and poem...brought tears to my eyes...thanks for sharing that.