There are terms to describe my creativity…words like “Synesthesia, Acquired Savantism and Accidental Genius" are all thrown about among experts talking about how I suddenly discovered the ability to paint in 2011. But this isn't just a story of painting; it is my experience of transformation.
I was an award-winning entrepreneur and nationally recognized business strategist in home health and hospice before the “mild” traumatic brain injury that changed my life. I was married at the time, at the pinnacle of my career, with a 2 year old daughter. In between business trips, I went to Costco to get a bag of cat food. While loading groceries, the hatch/tailgate of my SUV suddenly dropped on my head. Although I never lost consciousness, my life changed in an instant. I had no idea how long my recovery would take (no one does, really). At first they said two weeks, then two months, and then up to a year. No one is prepared for such a walk into the unknown.
Just a few months after the injury, my neighbor Mac encouraged me to paint. He had just completed whole brain radiation for Stage 4 lung cancer. He brought me flowers every day to check in on me and gently nudged me toward art. I honestly thought Mac was crazy, because I was not an artist before the accident. In fact, I loved to look at paintings, because artists could express things that I found unimaginable. Then, with an abundance of courage one day, I gave it a try. Quickly, I discovered that my hands simply knew what to do when given colors and white space. It was as easy as breathing.
With a new language - that of color - I transformed into an insatiable artist overnight. This is what it means to be an Acquired Savant. I am self-taught, and I have never taken an art class. I simply sat on the floor of the art store and allowed my hands to explore what felt right. That was the Summer of 2011. I am very fortunate that I do not have many of the tradeoffs that go with Acquired Savantism; Dr. Treffert calls this scenario "Accidental Genius."
My journey through art continues to heal me, and I feel called to help others discover the profound healing power of art…something that I only discovered by accident. I am now integrating my love of theology into my artistic process, as I explore complex spiritual and religious writings through the lens of poetry and paint. This approach is called Theopoetics.
Ultimately, I allow my creative endeavors to become an adventure into the unknown of myself and the world around me. These journeys have healed me in the past, and they continue to provide healing as I work to recover from an acute flare of chronic illness.
I am a contemplative artist and a monastic living in an old growth forest on a mountain top outside of Seattle. This is my life and my artistic process. If it resonates with you, please reach out! We can discuss lessons, commissionable art, or purchase of a piece that resonates with you.