My illustration of a Holstein dairy cow was the last one I had to complete for my Tillamook assignment. I had already finished 21 fruit labels.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive about illustrating a cow. After all, my specialty was painting food. I was busy working on the fruit labels, so I decided to hire a good friend and talented artist to research and find me good cow reference. She did a great job and made it easy for me.
Passion is such a beautiful thing; it is fuel for the soul. My post title is from my song named “Someone to Love You.” The full lyric line is: “Passion is all you need, you will succeed.”
My song can be heard here:
Just like my last story, I’m going to weave my current artwork (and music) in with a story about one of my children. Last time I wrote about my daughter. This time, I’m sharing about my youngest son who is 19.
Only one year ago, my youngest son graduated from high school. So much has happened in his life since then. I could write a lot but I’ve decided instead to just describe an evening with him last week.
I did not expect to catch a cold. It started with a sore throat and soon my nose was stuffed. The worst part was that my eyes were even more irritated.
It was hard for me to focus on my painting. I had tissues nearby to wipe my brushes and there were also tissues I used to blow my nose. I tried hard to keep them separated.
I wasn’t as careful as I could have been; I ended up with a green nose! Somehow, the green dye was there on one of the tissues I sneezed into. It wasn’t pretty.
It had been over a week since my cold started and I was so much better. But I couldn’t sing. I tried and I tried, but after less than a minute, I would sputter and choke on my lyrics.
I had hoped I could sing at the Tuesday night Kulak’s open mic and texted my wonderful voice teacher, Hannah to ask her for advice. She sent me back a recipe for a very soothing tea. I sipped tea all afternoon and got dressed to perform.
I warmed up and started coughing. I couldn’t sing but decided instead that I would just play my guitar. It was almost impossible for me to play flawlessly without a little practice ahead of time. But even though I hadn’t really prepared any kind of routine, I didn’t care. I’d just have fun.
Playing my guitar freely was relaxing and enjoyable. I came home and was so glad I had gotten out! It had been a long day; filled with art and music. Life was enjoyable, despite having pain in my eyes and an annoying cough.
I was in my bathrobe when I heard the front door opening. My 19-year-old son’s voice was unmistakable as he boomed loudly, “MOM!!!! I have some friends coming in and they’d like to meet you – can you come out and say hello?”
The clock on my nightstand said it was almost midnight. These days with my son working on a movie set, he was actually home earlier than usual.
I was happy he had gotten a ride home. He had lost his wallet a week earlier and instead of driving he took the subway to the movie shoot location in the city. For over a week, he had slept at a loft provided for the production crew. But then he decided he slept a lot better in his own bed.
He was excited for me to meet his friends. How could I refuse?
I quickly threw off my robe and slipped on my jeans. When I came out, my son was already showing off my artwork to his two friends. I smiled and noticed his friends were several years older than him. Unlike my son, they were from other states. They told me they moved to California to work on films; I thought how convenient it was that our house was very close to where the industry was.
I was amazed how my son found his passion six months ago. Prior to that, he was a first-year college student and busy with his classes. In the evenings, he enjoyed volunteering at the venue where I often performed named Kulak’s Woodshed. The Shed had six cameras and he was in charge of shooting the videos.
People complimented him on his camera abilities and then it clicked for him. His dream was to direct and film movies. He persuaded me into going with him to an open house at a film school and told me he was certain he’d be able to get a scholarship.
Almost daily, he printed out wish lists of the camera equipment he wanted to buy. It was amazing how he accumulated many items that were simply given to him by wonderful friends, family and even one of his teachers. I did buy him his first camera.
He began shooting videos for people and accepted little money because he was learning. When he volunteered at a camera rental shop, he quickly made even more connections. Within two weeks, he landed an opportunity to be an assistant director intern for the filming of a low-budget feature film.
His passion and drive were beyond words. It was hard for me to believe that this was the same guy who whined when I told him he had to get a summer job two years ago. Now, 16-hour days were his routine and when he came home exhausted he would chatter enthusiastically about all the amazing things he was learning. He told me, “Mom, today I learned more than I ever would have learned in film school. The assistant director is recommending me for another project after this one and I’ll get paid!”
Soon it became apparent that he was not planning to go back to Community College. He barely finished his spring semester and his grades took a dive. For his career path, he felt he was farther ahead than most people his age already and a degree wasn’t required. He didn’t want to waste any time other than working at his passion.
I accepted that it was his choice and his life. I truly believe that passion leads to success.
Sometimes he would ask me, “Do you believe in me, mom? Do you think I’ll make it?” Without missing a beat, I always told him he would. His passion and enthusiasm for life was infectious. From the time he was a little boy, other people noticed that about him, too.
I asked his friends if they’d like anything to eat; my son had already given them cups of water. I looked in my fridge and pulled out some juicy summer fruit for all of us.
I joined them at the table and enjoyed hearing stories about the day’s filming. I noticed they were all sunburned from filming outdoors. His friends talked a little about their backgrounds and ambitions. I could tell that they were very impressed with my son.
During our conversations, my son and his friends were flipping through a binder with printed examples of my illustrations. My son kept bragging about me while I talked about some of my more interesting jobs. It was fun.
Soon it was time for them to leave; it was well past midnight. My son waved them out the door and said he’d see them early the next morning.
He wouldn’t be getting much sleep again, but he had far more energy than he’d ever had now that he’d found his passion and joy.
I was clearing the table and he walked over to give me a huge hug. He was so appreciative that I had warmly welcomed his friends and impressed them with my artwork.
My son was so determined to succeed in his field; he told me once he wanted to be as successful as I was.
I looked at his shining face and he had no idea. My greatest achievement wasn’t being a top illustrator.
It was simply being his mom.
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