I made a nice lady cry recently.
Several weeks ago I had a home-town exhibit at which I shared many of the daily paintings I'd done up to that point. Many were well received, many were, shall we say...tolerated. That's okay, I told myself, be brave. It's to be expected. This exhibit is about starting a conversation, nothing more. I gave myself the usual pep talk. You've probably heard it inside your head, too.
"Be patient. Share your purpose. Explain how/why/when you chose to paint that landscape/blue cow/raccoon skull. Smile sweetly when the viewer interrupts you to tell you about their grandma/great aunt/neighbor who paints on barn boards.... Smiiile"
And then Nice Lady asked about purchasing a small painting from me.
Day 72 - Goldenrod Morning @2009
Quite honestly, I was surprised, and told her so. Of all the pieces in this show, this is not the one I would have expected you to select, I said. (In fact, I very nearly didn't put this piece in the show because I didn't expect anyone but me to love that piece. And I loved that piece.)
Nice Lady smiled sweetly and shared with me her reason for buying this little yellow landscape.
It makes me smile, she said. She shared with me her love for goldenrods, her love and appreciation for the color yellow. Her delight in how it made her feel. Looking at that little piece just made her feel good. Really good. And happy tears welled up in her eyes.
I - or rather my painting - had touched her. Deeply. It was beyond words, this moment when we both loved the possiblities of a certain experience created by color and movement. She had her story, I had mine, and the fact that the stories weren't the same didn't matter. We connected deeply, from our hearts, sharing a language that doesn't exist.
That's why I paint. Not to make nice people cry, but for those moments when the work of my hands touches the heart of another person. That pause in time when there is no need for words, when rhythm and color, texture and hue combine to reach from my heart to yours.
If tears are part of the deal, well, that's just fine with me. I'm tough, I can take it.
How tough are you?