Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
Who can speak more about optimism than Helen Keller?
I still struggle to get my mind around how she persevered to overcome blindness and deafness. Such a remarkable thing. It makes me question my own strength of character, makes me wonder how I would respond if similar circumstances. I wonder how well known her story is to the younger generation, outside of the tale of her early years with the woman, Anne Sullivan, who taught her how to join the world as portrayed in the play and movie, The Miracle Worker? That drama, while marvelous, doesn’t tell of the great influence that Helen Keller had through her life as an activist and inspirational speaker. She is a pretty amazing case, to say the least.
That brings me to this little piece, a new 12″ by 12″ canvas that I call Passing Clouds. There’s a lot of joy, a lot of bright-eyed optimism in this painting, both in the process of painting it and in the final product. It’s one of those pieces that I truly enjoyed every moment that I worked on it and never felt a twinge of doubt about the strength or validity of it. It felt in rhythm with the first brushstroke and every subsequent move was made with complete confidence. That’s a rare thing. Usually there is a struggle at some point. But occasionally things come together and a painting like this flows out with complete ease.
No, there are no clouds over this one.
I wanted to include a version of Irving Berlin‘s classic song Blue Skies, one of my favorites. But as I searched I came across this different song with the same title from Tom Waits. I had forgotten this song that I hadn’t heard in many years but it immediately came back to me. Just a lovely small song, perfect for a lovely small painting.