DREAMS OF A YOUNG ARTIST (Studio newsletter – December 19, 2013)
Oh to be young and fearless. Actually just being young again would do, but for the sake of this letter fearless has to be part of the mix. Encouraged by commercial success during my early years as an artist, I harbored ambitious dreams for myself. One of them was to see my art on the cover of the New Yorker magazine. I was so confident I could make that happen that I created a series of paintings, composed to fit the cover of the magazine and accommodate the text. Eventually reality intervened and I never queried the magazine with my cover art. (I learned later that they do not accept un-solicited artwork.) I eventually sold several of the paintings, but a few remain, resting quietly in a file drawer in the gallery – a quiet reminder of what once was.
I am not haunted by the dreams that never made it, because so many did. (I still think they would have made great covers.) If you don’t allow yourself to dream, you can be sure it will never happen. If you allow yourself to dream, there is always the chance it may happen. The choice is ours, and I choose to dream, even as an old artist.
My daughter Sara responded to the newsletter with this simple line: “I love these dad. Thank you for teaching me to dream.”
The sentiment expressed in those 7 words – “Thank your for teaching me to dream” – fills me with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment beyond description. Teaching my children to trust and to nurture their dreams has been a high priority goal for me. The message is a simple one: not everyone can be whatever they want to be, or do whatever they want to do, but everyone can try, and dreams are the foundation and the force that sustain these efforts. These are not mindless, pie in the sky dreams, detached from reality. These are the dreams that determine who we are, and how we choose to live our lives, dreams that call on us to use all of our facilities to achieve our goals, dreams that take us from within ourselves into the world around us.
There are no guarantees or promises of success and happiness, and the only reward may be the satisfaction of knowing we made the effort.