From a retired Certified Healthcare Administrator to a National Speaker, Consultant and Edu-Tainer (educating while entertaining)….I have always been in the “people business.” I LOVE people. During the pandemic….”Time Out 2020” I was so lost. I went from being an “Undercover Guest” for healthcare and other businesses to pulling the cover over my own head. Normally I would be juggling multiple events and training sessions, speaking for national conferences and enjoying time with family and friends. My vehicle stayed in the road and there was always a smile in my heart, ready for the next adventure. When all of that came to a screeching halt, I soon realized I’ve always been surrounded by family & friends, never being without lots of people in my life. I felt alone and without a purpose.
My parents said I was born reaching out to others and I have always had lots of friends around. Oh, I have a big imagination, of course that also includes others. Even as a child, my friends and I would create playhouses, schoolhouses, clubhouses and talent shows….all with lots of friends around.
During “Time Out 2020” I truly didn’t know what to do with myself. I turned my attention toward checking on others, calling someone a bit “more mature” than me each day. Then one day I picked up the leftover paint and canvas from “Nana Camp” with my grands and I began to paint. My tears began to fall while reflecting on & missing all the times spent with loud little voices running through my home, the smell of food cooking in the kitchen (yes and sometimes burning) missing the laughter and love felt from the hearts of family and friends. I missed it. I missed it greatly. In fact, it truly was like a hole in my heart. As the tears fell on the canvas….the paint seemed to splatter into pretty shapes. When I looked down, I saw a heart. My tears had formed a heart on the canvas. To me, that was my sign. I collected ALL of the paints, brushes and everything I could find to paint on and I couldn’t stop. Soon I realized whatever was on my heart or in my heart was coming to life on the canvas.
Before I knew what was going on, I had painted cards, landscapes, lots of hearts, flowers, angels and lots of mistakes that turned in to beautiful abstracts. I’ve never been one to love abstracts but I have fallen in love with them. I’d say you have to experience them, allowing yourself to look within them. I guess it’s because I accepted the mistake as a mistake and made something better out of it….like I try to do in LIFE! Sometimes my life has even felt like an abstract.
After being encouraged to post my paintings via social media, I finally got the nerve. I will say that I was very reluctant to put myself out there. You see, I have a comedian alter ego named “Gladys Friday” as in glad it’s Friday….and SHE can say and do almost anything but I’m not quite that brave when it comes to “Denise.” Oh, I’m not shy by any means however it was a big step to put my paintings online, wondering if anyone would like them or if they would be critical of them. After all, I wasn’t an “artist” so what was I thinking? Anyway, I took their advice, posted my paintings on Facebook and Instagram and I haven’t stopped! Family & Friends have been very supportive, encouraging and are such a BIG part of my journey. They continue to cheer me on. In fact, my sister and I now have a ritual that we deliver local paintings on Saturdays and have lunch together….it’s our quarantine field trip! Paintings are framed and are mailed on a regular basis by my husband….whom I now call “my assistant!” Who knew that those teardrops on my paintings would soon turn into smiles on the faces of others…and in my heart as well! It feels as if each painting represents a little piece of my heart that now live in homes of others. The magic is that I feel surrounded by people once again!
“How did you know you could paint?” I’ve been asked….and my response is always, ”No one told me that I couldn’t!”
As a senior in high school, I had taken an art class….now I’m a senior artist! That’s kind of cool, don’t ya think?
(Available for purchasing: watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, large & small canvases)
Denise Price Thomas