There are many angels in my life. My supportive husband, my adorable children (who TRY to be good and helpful), and loving friends and extended family. I also meet angels daily...those who hold open doors for me as I'm loaded down with a toddler and groceries, those who simply smile or say hello, and those who are constantly serving others.
Today I want to talk about my dad, another angel in my life. My dad (a doctor) was a huge influence in my artistic life. He praised my work from an early age on, showed it off to others, and talked about my "talent" constantly. He wasn't a bad artist himself, but never did he say, "She got it from me." He always behaved as if I came out of nowhere. But my dad made me my first easel and expressed pride in paintings I look back at and laugh. Thanks go to my dad (and mom) for never trying to steer me into a more academic, financially stable path...for loving me for who I am and being proud of it.
A few years ago, my retired parents moved out from the midwest to a town about 45 minutes away from me. They instantly were involved in service for our church, in their family (my dad's mother lived about 20 minutes from their new home and needed assistance), and in their community. We were happy to have them so close for special occasions and random visits. My dad devoted himself to visiting his mom (my grandmother) a couple of times a week, taking care of her needs, her medicines and her welfare.
This past December, at the age of 97, my grandmother passed away in her sleep. She was a wonderful woman and is missed.
The passing of my grandmother left my dad with some extra time on his hands. He could've used this to relax more, read more, or take up a new hobby. However, my dad, my angel, began traveling the 45 minutes to my house every wednesday morning to spend 3 hours playing with and taking care of my two year old so I could get a solid chunk of time to get some real illustrating done (before the wee hours of the night).
Anyone with a baby or a toddler in the house knows how hard it is to get uninterrupted time to work. I've had personal projects on the back burner and this new service is giving me the opportunity to focus and get some good work done. I really appreciate it.
These past two weeks I finished up a dummy book, created a lot of character sketches, and began a new book. It feels so good and I have my dad to thank for it. (It really is amazing what I can get done working for 3 hours straight in the morning)
So, THANK YOU, DAD! For being my angel. Look for the angels in your life.
(HERE ARE A FEW OF THE CHARACTER SKETCHES I DID FOR AN UPCOMING ILLUSTRATOR MEETING WITH MARTHA RAGO, EXEC ART DIRECTOR FOR HARPER COLLINS)