Artwork courtesy of Lucie Bilodeau Lucie Bilodeau
If my mom was still here, yesterday she would have turned 99, and if my dad was still here, today he’d be 101. Since they are both germane to this post, this is my way of saying Happy Birthday and letting them know I’m OK now.
From the time I was about 4, until I was almost 19, every night I flew in my dreams.
Early on, and before I saw Mary Martin in Peter Pan, I just flew around my neighborhood, especially down to the swimming pool at our local park. As I got older though, my flying excursions took me to incredibly beautiful places, filled with all types of art, architecture and music. I met all kinds of artisans who always seemed immersed working on one creation or another.
My stay-at-home mom, a nurse, as well as an artist, encouraged me to share my expeditions with her. She would then help me to merge what I’d seen and heard into whatever school project(s) held relevance then. My projects were always “different”- sometimes aggravating and sometimes mystifying the nuns at our parish grade school.
My dad worked for a very old, very large, and very prestigious architecture/engineering/planning firm. When I turned 6, he started taking me to his office on Saturdays. He’d sit me down at an empty drafting board, give me pencils and papers and let me draw away. The flying dreams got even better and more detailed.
Upon entering high school, taking art classes was not an option for me … the school was new and did not offer any non college prep alternatives yet. Between the two of them, my mom and dad managed to find the funds to send me to outside art classes … drawing, painting and sculpture. I flourished. My Saturday trips to dad’s office continued, however I spent less and less time at a drafting board, and more and more time in the Interior Design department. I loved all those fabrics and tile samples … the colors, textures, and even the smell of all those different materials. My flying dreams were now in Technicolor 3D. It was FABULOUS !!!!
It was no surprise to my “Auntie Barbara”, one of my parents’ dear friends, when I told her at age 15 that I wanted to become an architect specializing in interior design. There were few women architects then, and even fewer interior design architects. She immediately started calling me Michelangela, and pitching in with additional financing for art classes. We all thought I was on my way.
I enrolled in college, loved my art and architecture courses and the flying dreams got better yet. Then, at the end of my freshman year, an extremely traumatic event occurred – life altering – in that it pushed me off the path I had chosen, and more importantly, I was no longer able to dream fly. My parents were supportive and loving, but nothing they said or did helped.
I was a lost soul.
Since architecture was in my blood, I spent the first two-thirds of the past 40 years working as a marketer for architectural firms. I was happy and loved my work – but I was creating things for other people – not for myself, and still no dream flying. I spent the last third of my career as an organizational development consultant working for an international training and development company. I loved this work as well, designing my workbooks and classes and then traveling around the globe to share them. I logged nearly two million frequent flyer miles, but the work itself was not my own, and still there was no dream flying.
Sometime during those years, I stumbled upon a greeting card with “Child’s Dream” featured. I was immediately drawn in. I purchased the card and tacked it up in my work space. I would look at the image, pining that I no longer could fly in my dreams. I tried every type of meditative and spiritual practice presented to me – but still no dream flying.
A few years back, when the economy took a nose dive, my consulting services turned from being a “given” in companies, into a “luxury” item . No one was hiring people like me. I found myself jobless, and after a year of looking, I made the decision to retire and refocus my energies on being the artist I always dreamed I would become.
The first few months were very difficult because I had not a clue of where to begin. I turned my home office into a studio, but still sat pining at “Child’s Dream” tacked on the idea board next to my computer. Days and weeks and months flew by. I continued pining and found myself working in my garden over zealously to avoid being in “the studio”.
Just as I was about to give up this crazy notion of being an artist, I had a very significant dream. I found myself in a huge showroom/warehouse, with rolls and rolls of fabric, fiber, ribbon and all kinds of embellishments. As I looked around in awe, I recognized my dad sitting on top of a huge pile of paper. As I approached, he reached out his hand, took mine and said, “Everything will be alright. Just sit down, start using all the resources you’ve collected over the years and make art with them. Don’t worry about the outcome – just start creating – and have fun”. I remember that dream as if it occurred last night.
I wasn’t sure I completely understood, but it was my dad, so I starting opening all the boxes of stuff I’d collected and hauled from home to home with no idea of why. It took me 2 weeks to go through everything, and as I did, I started to get ideas. For the next few months I experimented. I cut, pasted, glued, glittered and painted and I actually started liking what I was making. That is when the miracle happened … I started to dream fly once again.
I was so shocked, elated and overjoyed that it took me several more months to focus while dreaming, and to make notes upon awakening. I’m pretty good at that now, and I try always to stay “tuned in” to what the Universe has to offer me. It is always so abundant with ideas.
There have been many artists who have inspired me through the years, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Lucie Bilodeau for listening and allowing me to use her art in this post. Lucie’s paintings are incredible. From Fantasy to Tigers and lots of stuff in between, her attention to detail and her vivid colors speak volumes on her canvases. I hope you will check out her portfolio.Lucie Bilodeau
Now that I’m flying again, I’ve been busy trying out all kinds of techniques and mediums and look forward to sharing them with you soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for more on art and artists that inspire me, and again, Happy Birthday Mom and Dad. I miss you.