after my show in october i took a long road trip to see my daughters, rebecca and elizabeth in new york and delaware which brought me through ohio, west virginia, verginia, maryland and on up to delaware, pennsylvania and new york. after a few days in delaware i continued down the east coast to see another daughter, sarah, in charleston, s.c. from charleston. i drove up to atlanta to see my sons, mark and eron and then back home to illinois. i covered about 3000 miles in all and spent a little time getting reaquainted with six of my seven grandchildren.... evangeline, wyatt, brenna, zane, sinclair and grayson. didnt get to see ashley.
virgina and west virginia had some great potential landscapes as well as maryland. too bad it rained most of my trip in the mountains so wasnt able to sketch or paint on site but think i can still work from the photos i took. while in delaware i drove over to the bryn mawr rehab hospital in malvern, pennsylvania to take in their 15th annual international painting competition where i was the featured artist. i have never met such warm, enthusiastic members of a show commitee! they had a great attendance of around 600 people. some of the artists were wheelchair bound but still pursued their craft with admirable tenacity. a photographer won best of show.
i should explain my reason for being in this international exhibit. it is open to any artist dealing with disabilities including physical, cognitive, visual and hearing. when i was a child i suffered from bouts of unexplained vertigo that left me bedbound untill the dizziness subsided. over time it caused me to become deaf in my left ear. while recovering i would fill pages of blue lined notepaper with drawings. so in a way this contributed to me becoming an artist. this condition continued until i was around 15 years old. it wasn't until my thirties that the condition was diagnosed as menieres disease. their is no cure but fortunately i only experience a mild case if i get run down with too little sleep or too much stress. my disability is small potatoes compaired to some of the artists i met at the exhibit. they were working under much more difficulty than i.
at present i am working on a 48 x 60 commission that came during my october show. thanksgiving is right around the corner and it reminds me how much i am thankful for...including the seven children that bring me so much to live for. things are pretty dificult at present for a lot of us in the arts and society in general.... but in some way these times have the potential to make us stronger in our resolve and force us to understand how important it is to stay positive when things are not going our way. one of the things that i make a habit of doing is looking up at the night sky. noticing at what stage the moon is and the vastness of the universe. it becomes quiet clear how miniscule my problems are and how lucky i am to live on this part of the planet called america.
wishing all of you a most joyful time with family and friends this holiday season.....tom