If you could choose only one utensil to carry in your pack as you trudged through the jungles of New Guinea, not on a grand hiking adventure, but fighting a war in your mid-20s, what would it be? Daddy always said take a spoon — good for scooping food out of ready made pouches or quenching thirst, sip by sip, but also good for digging and scraping . He didn’t talk much about his years fighting in WWII. He came home with a Purple Heart and married the love of his life, made lots of babies and lived a good long life providing for his family. The last time I saw him, he lay in a hospital bed at home. My mom and I were at his side. I was getting ready to fly back to Florida. He looked at his wife of 67 years and said, “This is the last time I will see Lori.” I grabbed his hand and shook my head. “No daddy, I’ll see you in heaven.”
I’m sorry, Daddy, that I joined the Navy without telling you first. I’m sorry I asked for an assignment in Japan. You fought the Japanese and certainly didn’t like the fact that I would be in that country for two years. You called them “those damn Japs.” I did not know your pain. I never had to walk in your boots. I served in peace time, and when people say “Thank you for your service” on Veteran’s Day, I channel the good thoughts to you and those who marched alongside you, knowing in my heart I am undeserving in comparison.
To all those who served our country, and to all who continue to do so, thank you. Thank you for our freedom, and may we honor you always by loving this land and protecting it with all our strength. It wasn’t until I started writing this that I realized something I should have figured out years ago. Some people see signs from those who left us — things like cardinals and butterflies and even boat anchors. I see spoons — the antique silver ones. Thank you, Daddy. Happy Veterans’ Day 2020.
I left my childhood home when I was 19, believing the U.S. Navy slogan, “It’s not a job. It’s an adventure.” It certainly was, and the adventures have continued. But there really is no place like home.
I have a collection of homes, from the east coast to the west, midwest to the south. Home is not a place on the planet. It’s a place in your heart.
This new work is called Home and includes an ancient photo of me in my old backyard in South River, NJ. I could have titled it Summer on a Chaise Lounge and told you about memories of plastic pools and running the neighborhood, jumping rope with the crew on Lee Street, making perfume with rose petals and water-filled mason jars, rope swings, forts in the meadows or sliding down mountains of gravel on a cardboard box . . . until I was called home for supper.
May your days at home be comfortable and filled with content, hope and gratitude.
I hope your home is filled with treasures that bring you joy. Furthermore, I hope your favorite works of art are top on the list of your treasures. They are for me, and I am blessed to have my studio as part of my home. I’ll be helping to slow this monster with extra time in the studio, creating what I can. Got to take the advice of a great friend who recently wrote encouraging words for me to turn off the news and concentrate on painting because, “the world needs all that beauty you create.”
By staying home, we are saving lives. I truly believe that.
By staying home in the studio, I hope to bring joy and peace to the comfort of your home with new art as often as I can. This (loridrew.net) is my website, and I welcome you to tour the gallery at your leisure during the next 30 days. If you have any inspirational photos, I’d love to see them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you need help adding to your art collection, just let me know.
Stay home. Stay safe. And please stay in touch.
Last week was a bonus week . . . I was gifted with a full week in the studio . . . practicing, playing and picking up the pieces of paintings left unfinished. In other words, although there were struggles, there were also some successes and I found myself feeling good about a couple of things I wanted to share with you.
The first was an exercise in freedom. It’s harder than you think. No planning allowed, only a will to lay color to the surface and keep going until you feel satisfied. The big idea behind this exercise was to be oblivious to the applause of others. Over the years, I have somewhat grown in confidence because of time spent practicing the process, and although I still seek approval, I am happy if I can look at the finished work and smile, at least a little, knowing I did my best and that I would happily hang it on my wall. But please don’t stop the ‘likes.’ I’ll be devastated.
The second thing I learned last week came after a conversation with a dear friend who wanted to know why I don’t have the ability to make purchases on my website. Without even thinking about this in depth question, I said, “because I want to meet the people who like my work.” So far, I really like everyone who likes my art. It’s crazy, but I don’t want to give that up by including a shopping cart and digital checkout. I want to get to know you, maybe meet your family, share a few bites or a glass of wine and hear what you love about my art. It feeds my soul and gives me the courage to continue.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I need you. I enjoyed the quiet studio time striving for freedom from fear. But we need each other in this journey of life, and art enhances it.
I hope I’ll see you at the studio someday soon. In the meantime, enjoy the new additions to my website. No cart, but lots of heart!
Although I never dreamed of having my art hang in an art museum, I have to admit it feels really good . . . and it’s going to feel even better when it sells at the Huntsville Museum of Art 29th Gala next month. Their website explains, “The Museum seeks to foster understanding of the visual arts and appreciation of artistic achievement. The mission of the Museum is to bring people and art together through acquiring, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the highest quality works of art.” Wow! What an honor to be included in “highest quality works of art.”
So as I was thinking about museums, and then galleries, I came to the realization that although it is truly wonderful to gain such inclusion and recognition, for me the real honor comes from you hanging my art in your home. There is no finer place because it is your personal space, your sanctuary, your comfort zone. An invitation into your world is the greatest compliment.