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Gratitude and Willingness

by Linda Crane on 1/27/2012 8:54:17 AM

This post is by guest author, Linda Crane.  This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community.  If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 17,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites.  This author's views are entirely her own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.


Lately, I've been corresponding with an artist who was in an accident and suffered a major brain injury. Not too long ago, Brian published a newsletter about artists with disabilities. When these kinds of coincidences happen, I've learned to pay attention.


The correspondence started because the artist was having trouble doing her art now. I understand because a few years ago I developed a vascular disorder that results in mini-strokes and occasionally major ones, with all the brain damage that goes with that: motor control issues, memory problems, speech difficulties, balance, vision, mood swings. And about 6 months ago, I had a detaching retina just to keep things interesting.


I remember very clearly how terrified I was to try to draw after I began to recover from that first major stroke. It felt so unfamiliar (and I'd been dedicated to making art since I was 9 years old - quite a long time ago). I was afraid I wouldn't know how to do the thing I loved most in life. Then I remembered what I'd already been through and survived - a truly horrible childhood, a violent first marriage, falling into a bottle to drown my misery, finding and losing the love of my life to cancer, losing my ability to earn a living due to disability and then losing our beloved farm to financial hardship. And every single awful thing that happened turned out OK. Hmmm.


As the blackness of fear started to recede, I became willing to remember the blessings that came out of those "disasters". My family managed to instill a love of learning in me, I solidified my commitment to my art during that first marriage, I found peace and serenity through recovery from addiction, I learned to be an example of survival to others who have lost love, being disabled has really freed up time to be able to make art and do my needlecraft hobby, losing the farm meant I was able to sell it to wonderful people who have brought it to life as an ecologically positive natural food operation. Gratitude began to reappear.


So, after a couple of months, I picked up my pencils and brushes and started in. Gorilla hands at first. Eyestrain. Headaches. Extreme fatigue. Tears. And then again. Several times. Slowly but surely, I could see improvement and to my amazement, it all came back and more. I still have limited studio time before my eyes give out and I can't focus enough to even read print, let alone draw, but after 3 years it's a lot better and it's always improving. I still can't walk through a grocery store, but that's why they have those little go-carts (look out for the crazy woman zooming around the aisle displays!). Working on the internet marketing process was really intimidating because I wasn't sure I could learn entirely new complex skills, so I started here at FASO and found that it was much easier than I thought it would be. I can sit on my drafting stool without getting seasick. I'm actually having fun again!


All because I was willing to let in the awareness that no matter what has happened, there has always been something positive somewhere in the mix. And the knowledge that I can choose to pay attention to the blessings or to the misery. It's my choice. I choose gratitude and joy.


My disabilities prevent me from hanging shows or fairs or gallery involvement (openings and receptions are just too much for me), but while I was out there in the bricks and mortar art world, the Internet came along. So now my galleries are digital ones. And my "shows" are international (I have fans in Germany and Hong Kong - who knew?!)


Life is an amazing ride as long as we're willing to get on the train and see where it's heading. Have a great trip - I am!



Editor's Note:  You can view Linda's original post here.


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Topics: advice for artists | FineArtViews | Guest Posts | inspiration 

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Sandy Askey-Adams
Thank you Linda....

Your article is an inspiration. Love the work you are accomplishing.

Blessings to you and yours....and, I love your cat too!

Sheila Tansey
Linda, thank you so much for a highly inspirational post. I needed that :-)

Paula Boyles

Your article today has blessed me very much. Thank you for reminding me that good things can come from what we think are
bad times.

Thank you for your testimony and insights. I hope you will be able
to continue to create and enjoy all that you love in life for many years to come!

Donald Fox
Your courage and determination are inspiring. Your ability to see beyond is evident in your work. Thanks for sharing your story.

Nancy Riedell

Thank you so much for posting this article. You are a true inspiration! Your article is worth remembering for those of us who are lucky enough to go thru life without too many hardships. Blessings to you and take care.


Al Johannessen
Hi Linda,Great story.It sure touched home.I have had two heart attacks and the last one I had to have open heart surgery.Well as of 1-11-12 It has been one year since the surgery,and I was so limited to what I could do.However I am doing fine and gianing more confidence every day.Keep the faith and keep painting.I'll be praying for you.

Kathy Chin
Thanks Linda for the very timely article!

I just underwent surgery a week and a half ago. My condition before the surgery had reached the point where getting out and taking photos was nearly impossible and driving very difficult. Kept putting off the surgery because, well, for a number of reasons (or excuses.) Had the surgery and am going through the worst part, although not one iota in comparison to what you, Al, Jack, Mikki, and some of my friends have endured.
Then last nite the need to create kicked in and I spent several hours working on images that I'd already taken. It was fantastic! Not bad results, and it made me feel wonderful! Now I am looking ahead to the back end of this trial, ad it's nothing but positive. Even though I've been a little cranky during this process, I'm choosing to be thankful for this experience, and grateful to my family (Mom especially) and friends for all of their help and support. It has taught me many thing including not to take life for granted!

Linda Crane
Thank you all for your kind responses. This has been exactly what I needed to get me back to my blog after a couple of months of inactivity due to some blips on the health horizon. It forced me to re-read my blog entry and give myself a good "talking to". As in "OK, girl, you're feeling better and it's time to get up off your butt and get moving again! Practice what you preach!"

It always amazes me that I get exactly what I need. Thank you all so much for sharing your own trials and pitfalls, you are all inspirations.

BTW, my particular hero is Chuck Close. There are some really great video interviews with him on YouTube. I recommend them.

Al Johannessen
Hi Linda,So good to hear from you.Even tho my surgery was a year ago,I am still somewhat limited to getting out and doing much.All my life I have been a very active and outdoors type of man and this staying inside is just not my cup of tea.However,thanks to people like you I have made some great new friends,and I am loveing it.I agree with you,the out come is wonderful,the future is bright and even time I make a new friend it gets brighter.You hang in there and even the good thing will get better.Please keep in touch and God bless Al Johannessen

Virginia Giordano
Thank you for sharing from your heart. When you reach out and share like this you do a great service. You never know how far your inspiration goes and how deeply it will affect others.

Donna Robillard
Linda, thank you for sharing. I find, also, that when trouble comes along, we can wallow in self-pity or we can move forward. I think it is okay to wallow a bit, but certainly not stay there! Godspeed to you as you continue on your journey.

jo allebach
Through all your trials you have your goals in focus. I have had trying times of my life and even now am seeking to overcome a significant barrier but your words and those of others give me the impetus to go on. Thanks.

Brian Sherwin
Linda -- Thank you so much for writing this... and for sharing your story.

Candy Maley
Linda, Thank you for sharing very inspirational food for thought.

Carol Schmauder
Thank you for sharing your story, Linda. You are an inspiration to me, and I am sure, to many others.


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