Thursday, September 6, 2012


Go back in time with me.
Approximately 10 years ago -
Imagine a woman.
She has been a stay-at-home mom for almost half of her life.
She has dabbled in the creative world of music and theatre.
She has dabbled, even less, in the world of tole painting.
The young children have all reached an age where they are foraging their way out into the world.
She is feeling lost.
She needs a change.
She needs a purpose of her own.
She wants to pursue the art that she feels inside of her, but feels clueless as to where and how to begin.
What should she paint?
How should she paint?
Where does she begin.
What makes her think she is an artist and capable of painting?
Really - who does she think she is?
A good friend watches her struggle.
The friend goes on a trip and she returns with a special book and shares it with her friend.
"Look at the art in this book. It reminds me of you," the friend says.
The woman looks at the pages.
She is drawn in to a new world.
Color. Whimsy. Beauty.
Her soul leaps and is excited.
The woman studies the book for days . . .weeks . . .months.
She looks at the book as she creates new works of art on her own.
The woman finds bliss.
The woman finds her own voice.
The woman finds peace in her art.
The woman is happy.
Yes - the woman is me.
The artist? Jessel Miller of Napa, California.
One of her books was loaned to me by a dear friend ten years ago.
And through that book and Jessel's website - I found inspiration and my own artistic voice.
I have dreamed and tried to plan many trips from my home town of Portland, OR to Napa, CA to meet Jessel over the last ten years.
The trips were always thwarted until I finally just gave up.
Such a trip was never going to happen for me.
Over the last year, I decided to try again. I began to plan a trip for my husband, daughter and I to visit family in Northern California.
As I planned the trip, I decided I couldn't get into California without visiting the gallery.
I talked about the plans with my husband and he found all kinds of reasons why the trip was not going to be possible.
 I kept pushing forward.
Then the rug was pulled out from under me and it became evident that the impending divorce was going to happen.
My world was shattered and I cried. The trip wouldn't happen.
But then I woke up one morning and decided that this trip WAS going to happen and it would be a catalyst for change in my life. It would be my daughter's and my opportunity to find myself again and claim my independence.
I could go and on and on about what my recent vacation meant to me -
but I will save that for another story and another post.
Now - we will focus on meeting my inspiration.
My friend who originally shared Jessel's work with me now lives in Napa, CA. I called her two months ago and told her I wanted to come for a visit and go to the Jessel Gallery.
I just wanted to see Jessel's work in person.
But my friend took this one step further than I had hoped and arranged for a private meeting with Jessel.
I journeyed to Napa with my daughter. I went to the gallery. I met Jessel.
I cried tears of joy.
I felt of her warm and loving personality.
We talked of art and process and life and change and inspiration and challenge.
There is much more to our journey that we recently took - I will be dedicating a few posts to it because of the life lessons that were learned.
But I cannot describe the joy and empowerment I felt at finally accomplishing something that I have yearned for - - -ached for - - -for over ten years.
Thank you dear Amanda for introducing me to Jessel's work - and introducing me to Jessel.
And Jessel - thank you for your inspiration and your gift to the world of color and for your warm spirit and for allowing me to meet you.
I look forward to more conversations in the future.
Now - you must go and visit Jessel for yourself via her website.
I have arrived.

One of the rooms in Jessel's gallery.

Jessel Miller and Laurie Miller - I finally meet my inspiration.


1 comment:

Giggles said...

Such an awe inspiring story!! What a joyful photo of you two beautiful artists! Glad you got to meet your inspiration!! Dreams really do come true!! Thanks for sharing this intimate story!!Hope this is the start of many amazing things to come!!

Hugs Giggles