My father, who has recently just become interested in the usage of text messaging, sent me a photo the other day of a painting he started. Now, to anyone outside of my family, so what, right?
No, this is big. My father hasn’t painted in some thirty-years, and I’ve been trying to get him back into it ever since. I won’t get into his backstory, as I have before, but in a nutshell: he let go of it.
I would watch him sketch every now and then, simple and little things. Nothing more than a five minute doodle, and it would be rare if we ever got to that point.
I would buy him oil-paints and other sets, giving them to him for Christmas, his birthday, or Father’s Day; but alas, nothing. Questioning him lead to no where, other than excuses. I started looking back into my past and the relationship I had with him. How competitive we would get when it came to art or what I was showing him. I always thought that I was doing something wrong with my art, as I could never seem to truly impress him. But maybe it was because he saw a path he ignored.
So over the years, I let it go and allowed it to fade away. I stopped pushing him when it came to art, and figured if he were to do it one day, then he would. He eventually did bring it up with me, and told me that at times he wondered what it would have been like. What if he became an animator or an illustrator? What if he chose to work on films instead of becoming a banker?
Then here we are, and he sends me a photo of his first painting. And then I start to see more photos of him from my step-mother’s Instagram, and her Facebook. Photos of him two-inches from a canvas, painting away. When I went to visit, he asked us numerous times what we thought of the painting and if we liked it. I could see myself being mirrored. That lust to create, and that reassurance that we’re doing everything okay.
I feel that’s what every artist must go through. We all want to create and build worlds to share with others, but it’s that lingering question that sometimes breaks us apart: do people enjoy this and should I continue? I felt it so many times while working on my book LMS, and it nearly collapsed the project.
My father didn’t hang on. He had his reasons, which I’ll keep between him and I, but he let go and followed another path. And I hate that he had to go through those thirty years not touching a paint brush or releasing the talent or imagination he had.
I asked him how he felt and why it took so long? Now I could see a man that I once viewed as pretty serious, now laughing, making jokes. Hell, he wrote LOL. And to this day, he’s still painting, still sending pictures, and for the first time in a very long while, my Father and I have something to communicate on and relate with, and I couldn’t be happier.
The road and journey isn’t for anyone, and like my father, it makes you no less a person. Just never lose sight of your passion, regardless of what career you take.