Truth. I have not posted this piece here on my blog yet because every time I look at it or think about what it taught me, the process, the story behind it, I get so emotional and start that cry that begins in your throat, leaks out your eyes, and threatens to unravel me. I quickly change gears and post a different piece. But the tears are happy tears so why not.
This is my high school. I’ll skip the historical and storeyed past of it but suffice it to say, it is an institution in Victoria, BC. It is also unique in that you attend grade 8-12 there so I spent 5 years in this school. As any high school experience goes, some good years, some not as good. (There was the Miss Beasley perm situation in the mid-80’s I’m still recovering from.)
But overall, these were halcyon days. It was an innocent time, a sweet time. I marvel that even as a teenager, or I should probably say, of course, as a teenager, I wanted to be a writer, an artist, a magazine editor, a book publisher, a fashion designer, an anything at all in the arts. (University carefully, seriously, removed all those dreams via Chaucer, political science, and french literature in the 19th century. In french.) Back to Oak Bay High School. I loved it and still do. It is a landmark in my hometown. Which brings me to this painting. When I graduated, my parents (also alum!) gave me a beautiful framed drawing of the school with a small brass plaque on the bottom that said “These are the halcyon days of youth.”
Enter Kleenex box. Many years have passed. Maybe more than I’d like to admit. Enough years that my high school friend has a daughter that graduated this year from this very high school. Gulp. And out of the blue, she asked me if she could commission me to paint the high school for her daughter with a special quote as a graduation gift. It would be my honor. I realized then that painting has brought me full circle to my roots, connected old friends, and revived cherished memories that are now shaping me as an artist. I think about the quote my friend wanted for the painting, lyrics for “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Roots and it fills me with joy. I painted this for her daughter, to joyfully send her on her way, her new journey, just as my parents did for me. xo