"You will have to see like a true artist--with your heart."
This statement was said in the movie A Dog of Flanders to the little boy, Nello, who wanted to become a great artist like Peter Paul Rubens.
When I was nine I took art lessons from an eccentric old lady who lived down the street from the house we'd just moved into in Greenwood, Mississippi. She must have had a dozen cats. Her house was dark and smelled of oil paint and cat litter box. The yard unkempt. If you can imagine the type of house in movies that kids ran past this was it. I have no recollection now if I requested these lessons or whether my mother had met the woman that summer and thought it would be something for me to do. The only thing I remember painting was a portrait of a man's head and face. I can still remember his beady little eyes, misshapen mouth and nose, and no ears to speak of. I was embarrassed to show it and came away discouraged. I see this experience as the beginning of my desire to be an artist.
I again attempted drawing lessons as an adult on several occasions. The only success I had was when the assignment was to copy the teacher's drawing. That I could do. But when I had to draw from real life, I just could not get the shapes and lines right.
My only success was in 1997 when I got the idea to write children's stories about my cat, Poetry, and her best friends, Gabriel the Snowman and Sandy the Dog. I was so into writing these stories that the characters "appeared" in my mind's eye and I just had to get them down on paper. This was the result...
They are not life-like (remember, I can't draw real-life objects), but they represent the characters in my head--or more accurately, in my heart. When I sent them to a publisher along with my stories, I received a very nice rejection letter for the stories but they added they'd like to see more of my art work. Unfortunately, that was the extent of what I'd done and would do.
Susan Branch is one such artist who sees with her heart as she paints from her watercolor palette....
Click here to read her story. Her fans have gotten to know her through her website and blog and we can all attest to her generous ♥. Her art is merely an extension of her.
Loreena McKennitt is another artist, in the field of music, who expresses her heart in her art. You are listening to her music right now.
These two women whom I admire attest to the truth that if you are to do great art you must see with your heart for that is where your truth lies. It is only from your heart that you can share who you really are--and that will always be beautiful if your heart is full of love for life.