This I Believe

Diane - Elmhurst, New York
Entered on November 9, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: creativity

I believe that art is a driving force in my life I need to share with others. It has been the most important part of my life since childhood. Through art I could fulfill my dreams. Art comforted me as a young child when my parents divorced and I ended up living with my grandmother, Aunt Helen and Uncle Jimmy. After school the hours were spent drawing sunrises and beach scenes. I always used my art to express what I wanted. These pictures made me happy because the sleeping space I shared with my grandmother had no windows; it was stifling in the summer and cold in the winter. It was an old railroad flat opposite the Third Avenue El train in mid-Manhattan. I taped my sunrise crayon drawings on the closest squeezed next to my bed. The minute I got up each day for school I would turn on the light and smile at the yellow/orange sun coming up. I wished I had a window so I could see light. The beach drawings compensated for the lack of experiencing the ocean. My parents didn’t own a car, so my summer swimming was at the local Y.W.C.A. The pool water was freezing and again no sunlight. I raced home from my half-an-hour dip and with my crayons created a sunny ocean paradise.

As the years went by I studied painting at The Art Students League and then had the good fortune to meet and marry a fellow artist, John. We share a second bedroom as our studio. It is my favorite room because it has two large windows.

By the mid 1980s I realized I needed to communicate with others through art. I was accepted into an internship program at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and conducted painting workshops with the New York Public Library. Then I worked for eight years as an after school instructor with kids. It was the best experience because I could see the joy in the eyes of three year olds making ‘pink’ as we mixed colors.

Creating art and inspiring others is so important to me. It gives form and shape to your ideas and feelings. For past ten years I have taught at New York University as an adjunct associate professor of arts in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, adult degree program. What makes the creative process so exciting is to see how other people can be transformed by it. As they sit in class and work they soon realize creating art is something that touches your soul. When you work you forget about time. You enter another world. I believe my driving force is a blessing. Being an artist and teacher is all I want to do for the rest of my life. Oh, by the way my desire for the ocean has been fulfilled, too. For over three decades I have a place on the Mediterranean. Spain and art are the driving force in my life.