An open letter to the gentleman who, upon seeing my artwork on display, disparagingly called it, "Just flowers."
On April 6, 2015 I lost my grandmother, the woman who was my life-long creative inspiration. On April 23 of that same year my son was born. In the midst of dealing with the new motherhood (i.e. post pardum anxiety and depression, physical exhaustion, breast feeding, etc.) I was also mourning. A deep soul wrenching sob would escape every time I re-remembered that my child, the child that looked so much like the pictures I had seen of my grandmother holding me when I was an infant, would never know my Nana.
To say that 2015 was hard for me would be a great understatement. But to say it was in all ways bad would be incorrect as well.
That year was a catalyst. Like we learn in high school chemistry, a catalyst speeds things up. It takes two separate elements that would probably eventually react and makes something happen now. Right now.
The passing of my cherished grandmother and the birth of my precious son made me realize I was quite literally in the middle of this thing that I do where I wake up every morning and breathe and talk and eat and laugh and occasionally cry. Life. I realized that I could continue wanting to make art but holding back because I am not trained / not good enough/ not serious enough / not weird enough, or I could get over my stupid excuses and just paint.
My catalyst was realizing that life is too short to not paint pictures of flowers if that's what I feel I need to do. So I have. And I will continue to paint until I feel as if I'm finished.
Sir, I hope that going forward you can find it in yourself to see past your initial reaction to anyone's creative product in the future. Remember that your impression of "just flowers" might be another's heart and soul.
And may you paint your own flowers in the future, whatever that might be.
Paige Meredith Ray
My show "Local Color" is up from August 14 - December 11 at The Cafe on Broadway in Siloam Springs. SIgn up below if you'd like to receive more information about the show and my artwork.