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My Journey: 40 Years in the Desert

Much like the Israelite's in the Bible who spent 40 years wandering in the Sinai Desert, I've spent the last 40 years wandering around in my own personal desert except that my desert was a 40 career in IT. Let me explain. I started painting and drawing when I was young and by the time I reached high school I'd fallen in love with art; I couldn't get enough of it. I loved the smell of the art room, the paint, the feel of the sculpting clay, the instructions from my caring and talented teachers, and learning something new everyday. I even loved the art history classes. If I wasn't in the gym I was in one of the art rooms because there I was accepted and valued. I knew then that I wanted to be a professional artist.

However, like the Israelite's I had not yet learned to trust God. So I began to systematically sabotaging something that I truly loved and was God-gifted to do. I'm not saying I was Michelangelo but I did have some talent and a lot of passion. Unfortunately, fear (False Expectations Appearing to be Real) crept in like a cancerous virus. I didn't have a role model or a life coach that could guide me through the process so I began to doubt myself. I thought, "What makes me think I'm good enough to make a living as an artist? After all, I don't know any professional artists. What if I fail? Although I love them dearly I don't want to be an art teacher. What about all those starving artist that I hear about...I'm just going to be another one in the bunch."

But wait, there's more. In those days (early 1970's) predominately white universities were recruiting Black students and Washington University offered me an opportunity to apply to their School of Art with the potential for a scholarship. Again fear set in. After all, I didn't know anybody that went to Wash U. All I knew was that it was a "white" school. All my friends and family went to Lincoln University or one of the many fine HBCU's. So I finally talked myself out of pursuing my passion and into attending Lincoln University. Now 40 years later I'm trading in my IT profession and beginning to develop the gift that God gave me...I'm crossing over into the promised land.

Contrary to how it sounds, I don't regret my decision. After all, if I had gone another route I wouldn't have the lifetime of stories which will make art unique...and boy do I have some stories to tell. I've learned that God would not have given me a gift without provision for developing that gift. Going through the challenges of my desert has convinced me that I don't have to prove myself to anyone...I'm good enough just like I am and I'm going to get better. No one can do what I do because each of us is unique. I'm at a place in life where I can FINALLY do something just for me. I've been liberated.

In closing, I now know that it's not too late to be what I was always meant to be. I want to invite you to take this journey with me for however much time is left. Help me tell my stories and let me help you tell yours. Let's create something together in Studio E.

#blackart #1970s #1960s