I recently returned from a visit to Montreal, Quebec where I feasted on delicious French Canadian cuisine and meandered through the city’s art galleries and museums. The highlight of my art jaunt was the Chihuly exhibit on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, featuring large-scale blown glass sculptures of the American artist Dale Chihuly. Aptly titled “Utterly Breathtaking,” the show was for me an altogether mind-blowing, exhilarating, humbling, and inspirational experience. I walked through the exhibit mesmerized by the visually stunning colours and complexity of organic forms. I thought to myself, “This is an accomplished artist. This is someone who is committed single-mindedly and passionately to his art.”
I then found myself feeling slightly disheartened and thinking; “I can never aspire to artistic greatness like this. All those years I could have been honing my craft are lost.” After spending a moment or two feeling sorry for myself, I realized that perhaps as artists Chihuly and I did have something in common. In two separate accidents, Chihuly became blind in one eye and permanently injured a shoulder, which didn’t deter him at all. From where I stood, we shared challenges of creating despite our physical disabilities. Since my own accident, I had been slowly working to re-establish a daily art practice and resurrect former creative goals. For me, the prolific Chihuly was a lesson in perseverance.
The whole notion had an uplifting effect on me. I then thought, “It’s never too late to pick up where I left off. When I was a young girl, I dreamed of being the darling of the art world. In this grandiose vision, I was living in Europe creating masterpieces, courted by the rich and famous and of course making tons of money. Well, I didn’t end up living in Europe or become rich and famous on the lofty scale I’d envisioned but I did enjoy a creative and rewarding career in art for many years.
What’s important this time around for me is that I’m pursuing my art for myself—not for money, fame, family, friends or peers. I’m simply grateful for the opportunity to pursue and revel in the moment-by-moment, pure joy of making art.
It’s never too late to follow a dream. What’s yours?