Sunday, October 25, 2009

Three Years

salem county art by Lori Levin "Big Sky"
acrylic on panel

vultures by Lori Levin "Conference"
acrylic on panel

salem county art by Lori Levin
"Above the Bale"
acrylic on panel

custom pet portrait by Lori Levin "Scally"
graphite on archival paper
Soulful Studios Custom Pet Portrait

The "Artists at Work" open studio tour was a success. Many new people found their way to my studio and my work found new homes. Brady the Studio Dog improved his greeting skills and by the end strangers no longer upset him...much. I was much less stressed this time as we weren't putting the door handle on as patrons were walking up the path to see my art. No, we were ready well before opening and I have to admit I was pleased with the display. My oils and acrylics look very consistent and cohesive and the reception to my work was quite positive. More and more I feel that I am going in the right direction. No longer do I wonder if I'm just spinning my wheels. Rarely do I feel I should be doing something else more practical. Every single time that doubt flashes through my mind, an admirer of my work tells me what my art means to them and I know I'm home.

This is a far cry from where I was exactly three years ago. I close my eyes and I can still see the group of doctors standing over me telling me I had Lymphoma. My chest still aches when I cough or laugh but the memory hurts more deeply than the surface pain. Just now do I think I should cut my hair shorter because it is "too long". The wounds are all still so fresh. It seems like yesterday. However, if I take a deep breath and allow myself to relax and enjoy my new world, I can see I've indeed traveled far. In October of 2006 I learned how little control I had over my life. The universe was letting me know it had its own plans. Reading through my old posts of that time I realize how I covered over what i was really feeling and kept the brave face. Maybe there was no time for fear and pain. Maybe that is just how it goes.

Now I'm sitting here cancer free and I know how lucky I am. It doesn't always go that way. For some time I felt a pressure to make my life count for something. Once again I sought control. Finally it hit me a few weeks ago that I had not yet surrendered to the path of just living. Your life counts just as you are no matter what you do. You can make it a more pleasant experience by giving thanks and going with the flow and living in a healthy manner. However, no matter what you do there are no guarantees.

Sure, I believe what I write but the human in me still fights it sometimes. I recognize those times by my stress level or fits of anger. During those times I try to reset myself and SEE what is really around me.

What is around me in 2009? A beautiful house on two acres surround by farmers fields and beautiful sunsets is where I call home. Children that think I'm pretty and smart (at least for now) greet me when I awake. A charming little dog keeps me company as I create in the most beautiful studio a girl could imagine. My art is in demand and painting fast enough is my biggest worry. My family is healthy for the most part and we all enjoy a good ribbing. Most of all, a man, my husband, lets me know every single day that I am the most loved woman there ever was, even the ugly parts of me.

Yeah, I think by just living a lot has happened. In three years I've gone through chemo and radiation, tackled the lingering health problems that come with such treatment, got engaged, sold my home, planned a wedding, got married, built a studio, rebuilt my art business and won an art exhibition. Wow.

It's been a hell of a journey. It often felt like an uphill battle. It was harder for me than I'd like to admit. It was worth it.

What will I write three years from today?


KleoPatra said...

Beautiful... i love reading how happy and fulfilled you are. YOU DESERVE ONLY THE BEST!!!!

And your art is as always breathtakingly beautiful, Lori.


Love U,

streetsmart said...

been browsing your blog for some time now, and i admire your paintings and sketches. in this post, i love the first picture. the color of the sky and the landscape are really spectacular.