Once Upon a Time.....

(a short story about an artist)

Jennifer Yoswa

OIL PAINTER

ONCE UPON A TIME…
there lived a painfully shy little girl who found her voice in pictures rather than words. She spent countless hours drawing her feelings and thoughts. She rarely left home without her tablets, crayons, pens, and pencils. She entered and won drawing competitions. She painted a mural in her school's library. For a dime a lesson, she taught her neighbors how to draw. She designed fashion catalogs for her imaginary fashion business (complete with forms to place imaginary orders). She was happiest when she was drawing. She was an artist.

BUT…
for reasons that can’t be explained, she stopped. She traded in her pencils, pens, and imaginary fashion business for gymnastic uniforms, textbooks, and boys (not necessarily in that order). She graduated from high school and then college, became a second-grade teacher, married and had two beautiful children. She forgot all about her art and the shy little girl who adored it.

EVEN THOUGH…
she was happy and loved her life, something was missing. She felt a creative hunger in her gut. In her attempts to satiate this grumbling, she stenciled walls in her home, painted designs on children’s furniture, beaded collars on little glass bottles, and even tried paper-cutting art. Nothing helped. 

THEN ONE DAY…
she picked up a pencil and paper and drew a picture of a melon. And then she drew vases, blankets, candelabras, bowls, teacups, pears, and pumpkins. She felt something new and familiar at once. She worked up the courage to ask a "real" artist for feedback. He saw something special in her drawings and, instead of feedback, he gave her his oil paints and canvas and told her to paint. So she did. That day changed her forever. Painting became (and still is) a part of her soul.

A FEW YEARS LATER…
while cleaning out the basement of her childhood home, she stumbled on an old, dust-covered cardboard box. On one side, in her mother's handwriting, was written, “Jennie." She tore the tape off the top, opened it and peered inside. What she saw made her gasp. The box was filled with dozens of drawings and fashion catalogs. She started to sob.


SO…

she spent the next few hours laughing and crying on the cold basement floor...sorting through the fragile, yellowed pages...FINALLY becoming reacquainted with "Jennie, the artist."

"Jennie, the artist" (age 6)