Burning to Paint

A dear blog friend of mine, Deb over at C-Dog reminded me about this post. I published it awhile ago. I’m putting it forth again (with a few tweaks). It explains how I came to not simply enjoy art, but to understand the soul of it.

Jess’s Story

I think we can all remember the epiphany or spark that ignited each of our unique creative journeys.

For me it was a newspaper article. I think the year was 1977. There was a photo of a little girl’s face – beautiful and horrifying at the same time. She’d been caught in a fire and sustained third degree burns over most of her body. At the time of the article, I was fourteen. Jess was much younger.

The newspaper article’s primary focus was on the miracle of modern medicine and a magical procedure to ‘regrow’ damaged skin tissue. After my parents finished with the paper, I asked if I could keep the article. I stowed it in my top desk drawer. That night, as I tried falling asleep, Jess’s face filled my dreams. The next day and the day after that Jess’s skin covered mine. Her sorrowful eyes peered into my head and rested themselves in my dreams.

By the fourth sleepless night, I knew what I had to do.

Ever since I was little, I’ve created art and kept diaries. Like many little girls, I drew horses. I eventually moved onto other subject matter and took up painting. I knew I enjoyed art, same as I enjoyed eating a good cookie or playing sports. But, something inside me changed after reading Jess’s story. I had to paint. It wasn’t a choice. Painting her little, damaged face was the only way I could give her the respect and hope she deserved. It was the only chance I had to remove her burning image from my mind and place it elsewhere. Not to be forgotten, but to be remembered…
JessOnce I painted Jess, my nightmares stopped.
And my creative journey began…