Back in 2009 I started my own art business in a local hall down by the beach. It was a great location, and business was going great also! Lots of new students, and I was starting to get a good roll up of local retired ladies who wanted to pursue their creative side. I was wondering why I wasn’t getting any male students coming to my classes until Bill showed up.
I will never forget the first time he came into the hall unannounced. Barefooted (in the middle of winter) wearing his pajamas, and holding a half-eaten piece of vegemite toast. Bill was about seventy years old. He wandered into the hall, casing the place and said to me, ‘So what do ya teach ere?’ I detected an English Aussie accent
I was half stunned, not sure whether to laugh or get angry. I answered politely ‘I teach art.’
Oh, like what sort of art? I replied anything! He walked a bit closer toward me and half whispered, do ya teach that water colour stuff? I said yes I do! He began walking around the room looking at the student’s paintings, and commented pointing with a shaking hand I don’t want to do this stuff, that’s not my thing. Ok I said I will start where you want to start.
He looked directly at me and said he would be back in an hour. When he returned he was dressed and shaven.
I had the watercolour paints ready for him. I asked him if he would like me to demonstrate a few skills to get him going. He looked at me with distain and told he wanted to play with the paints his way. I left him with paint brushes and watercolours and said ‘Go for it Bill!
Every now and then I would ask how he was going and if he required any assistance. No he was right even though it was clear he was creating mud. By the end of the lesson, he had managed to create muddy puddles, thanked me, and walked out. I never expected to see him again.
The following week he arrived at the hall door ready to paint with his money in his hand. That lesson I taught him how to use the watercolours, and after two lessons he created the most beautiful beach scape. He was really proud of it. He became an enthusiastic student and wanted to learn how to use acrylic paint. After my night classes, I would catch a glimpse of him upstairs in his makeshift studio painting away in dim light. I would smile to myself. The pwer of art! Brings everything to life! His first picture was from a Turner style seascape. He did a great job of that too. Another time he wanted my advice and asked if I would give my opinion on a few things. He brought the painting in to show me. I was gob smacked when I saw it. It was a exact replica of Van Gogh’s chair in his bedroom, done to perfection! I could not fault it.
Everyone in the art class was shocked, amazed, proud, and awestruck by his efforts! WOW Bill this is amazing….you must be the reincarnation of Vincent I said. We all gave him a group hug.
After that artwork Bill completed other paintings by various artists. The creative challenge for him was creating the exact replica including the size including the material of the original was it was painted on. He got them all professionally framed, and had them exhibited in several shows around the towns and won a few prizes. Bill looked and felt 10 years younger!
Bill even started coming to my meditation classes. In one of the sessions he told me how he felt the art was one of the reasons why his ailments were healing. I will never forget what he said to me after one meditation.
With shaking hands and a quivering voice, he said you know Wanda, this art has given me life. He got a bit teary then hardly getting the words out, I feel alive again. I don’t know what you have done, the healing, the art I don’t know what has happened, but I feel alive, I have purpose! There is this energy I feel, I am happy. I haven’t felt like this for years. You are amazing! You know I could never paint, I couldn’t do much when I was younger, and my ability to paint was hidden. It has surprised me, ‘specially the wife! She thinks it’s great cause I’m smiling again!
I smiled at him not certain how I could respond even being in a space of accepting from him such a high honour. I looked at him and said gently tearing up myself, Bill you have given this gift to yourself, your soul brought you here, I only showed you a pathway. The rest you have done this for you. I am so proud of you .We are so happy to see your artworks! We love you, you know! Look at what you have achieved!
There is a moral to this story. We are all born creative whether you realise it or not. There is also a bit or a lot of BILL in each one of us. Life’s journey can get us down, the stress of work and family concerns can all take a toll on our health and wellbeing. When you decide to live a creative life, whether you take up painting classes, yoga, floristry, Tarot classes, anything FUN and playful, mindful and relaxing you tap into the vortex of abundant love and beauty. You become aligned with the universal source, God, Spirit, The Great Father/ Mother, and we in that moment we know ourselves as greater and lighter than we have ever known ourselves to be. This is because we are our TRUESELVES in creative energy.
The last time I saw Bill was at an Art exhibition my studio was doing in 2012. He told me he was selling up and moving to the Philippines with his son and family. I have tried to find him on Facebook just to say Hi. Well Bill if you are out there and you are reading this blog there is something I didn’t tell you when I should have: Thank you for allowing me to contribute to your life, for being willing to have me show you the way, a creative one. I am honoured and privileged. You will always have a spot in my heart. You are amazing.
Thank you and bless you.