When faced with heartbreak and personal tragedy, it’s hard to feel as if you’ll ever be happy again. Time seems to stop, and the pain of loss can be overwhelming and debilitating. Sadness casts a cloud over everything meaningful to you.
As you many of you know, I recently lost my mom. She was my best friend, and my biggest encourager. I just spent the last two months caring for her, with my sisters and hospice, until she passed away on December 16. Needless to say, this holiday season was extremely difficult.
My mom and I had a wonderful relationship. For many years she traveled with me on art-related trips. She took part in my art classes, and followed me across the country. We spent time together in Las Vegas when I taught there, and she accompanied me on many art cruises, from the Caribbean, Alaska, and even Europe. She was by my side at many book signings, and went with me on law enforcement-based trips, to Washington DC, and the National Center for Missing Children. So many memories, and so much support. It’s hard to imagine her not being here, cheering me on, and hanging out with me as a friend.
I could barely hold a pencil for the last few months. I certainly didn’t feel inspired to write. I spent countless hours next to my mom’s bed, knitting and watching TV and watching old movies with her. Nothing else seemed to matter.
For a while, I questioned if I would ever feel happy or creative again. I tried to draw, but it didn’t feel the same. I was simply going through the motions. I tried to write, but my words seemed dull and meaningless. A blanket of sadness had settled over me, and my creativity waned.
But, as the days went on, that little creative spark of art inspiration never quite went out. It started to smolder and come to life again. The old saying “life goes on” rings true. My artwork seemed to call out to me, as if it were trying to comfort me. I felt the need to create again.
The new book that I’m working on, the revised Big Book of Drawing, suddenly had more meaning to me than before. I desperately want to make it the best work I have ever done, to honor my mom, and prove to her I will be all right. Because of her, I now feel more artistic and creative than I ever have in my entire life. The best thing I can do to overcome the grief, is to keep doing what I do, in memory of her.
Inspiration for Artists
From very dark days, there come brighter ones than you’ve ever known before, if you allow them to come in. But, it takes love and support to help you want to see them. I thank all of you for your kind words and comments that you poured over me in emails and on Facebook. You do, truly, find our who your friends are, and I am blessed with thousands.
So, my new life now begins, and a new “me” is emerging. I will strive to be the best artist and writer I can possibly be, in memory of my mom. I will continue to use my skills to aid law enforcement, and make our world safer. I will finish my new art book, to mentor the aspiring artists in the world, knowing how much it enhances a person’s life, and helps in times of need. I will also be finishing my motivational book Reach, in honor of my dad. He was a motivational speaker. This book shows how happiness is a driving force, and something we can all continue to REACH for, even in our darkest hours. My mom and dad taught me well.
Creativity is a life saver. It’s also a lifestyle. It’s meaningful, powerful and a reason to carry on to leave a legacy. Art and creativity are gifts none of us should ever take for granted. Lean on them when your life gets tough, and trust that your passion will be there to help you when you’re ready. Give it time, for you will need that in the beginning. But a true artist will always be saved by their art in time, for it’s the part of the soul that wants to continue living, thriving, and creating even more!
So, my artistic friends, we will now move on together. Even better than before because, life does go on!
Thanks for being there!
Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!