Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Woman Behind the Canvas

Today, I received the most AMAZING, gift, but before I get there...some back story.

When I was in High School, I was....a little odd. To say the least. I only ever hung out with the same 6-8 people, and for the most part I kept to myself and quiet. I wore stuff most people wouldn't, as I was, and still am, a bit too creative for normal clothing. I always a bow in my hair, and at least 3 layers on, if not more on cool days. I love corsets, lace, pearls, and frilly things, so I usually wore one of these..if not all. Like I said, I was a bit odd for most other people. This photo was taken of one of my favorite outfits. Yeah...a striped tee, under a white jacket, under a boxing robe I wore like a dress, with a vintage crinoline and tights. I finished it off with a fun belt and flats. Not something most girls my age were wearing. :) 

Outside of my small group of very close friends, I didn't really feel like I could be myself. That was until I took my first art class with Mrs. Ireland. I was drawn to her almost instantly. She was warm, inviting, and made me feel secure in her classroom, allowing me to express myself through my art work.

She soon became more than a mere teacher.

My friends and I would have lunch in her room, tell her about our lives, and pretty much invited her into the group. We even stopped calling her Mrs. Ireland. Instead, my friend James started calling her Mrs. H. Why? It sounded better than Mrs. I, and it stuck. We got so close that I came to think of her as a sister, and when students of her's were asked to talk about why they liked her, for an award she was accepting, I talked for 5 minutes, and had her in tears.

After my first fundamental class with her, I knew I had to take every class I possibly could. I took Painting, Photography, and an assortment of other art classes. After a while, she stopped giving me assignments, and challenged me to work on my own pieces, doing what I wanted to. I worked on some digital pieces, one of which made it to a local art show, along with a paper cutting I did. That paper cutting is still hanging up in my kitchen.

But my most meaningful piece was one that I didn't even comprehend until after I had graduated and moved to Kansas. You see, part way through my Senior year, I got into a very bad relationship. He hit me, he mentally and emotionally abused me, and he cut me off from everyone I knew. I painted this while I was with him, near the beginning of our 'relationship'. I should have seen what my mind was trying to tell me.

One large heart, draining the vine and chocking the other hearts, causing them to shrink and wither. Just like my 'relationship' with that boy. I have this painting hanging up in my hallway, so that everyday I remember what I've overcome and survived. To remind me that I'm a better woman for going through what I did , and coming out whole on the other side.

Mrs. H was, and still is, a huge inspiration in my life, and I'm so happy to call her my friend now. So, imagine my happiness when I opened a package today and found this amazing piece of art.

She made me a fox vase, with a bow on her ear. Foxes are my favorite animals, just in front of Giraffes, just so you know. Her ear was broken, but I glued it back on with very little harm done. It's crazy, how even after 5 years, she still knows me so well. Yes, I still wear bows in my hair, yes I still wear pearls and lace and frills, but I've toned my style down a bit. And I'm still fueling that creative fire that Mrs. H helped kindle and ignite in me. So thank you Mrs. H, I wouldn't be the woman I am today if not for you. 

 Love and Lightning Bugs,
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