Each year at Fall Color Week, Eric Rhoads invites the attending artists to share their stories – their unique paths. This gives each of us art inspiration in unexpected ways, as you’ll see in the following one from Sarah Gayle Silwones, who posted this in the exclusive Fall Color Week Facebook group, where everyone continues to network and build friendships.
By Sarah Gayle Silwones
I’ve been thinking this week about ‘my story’ and as a very private introvert, I wasn’t prepared to share it at camp, but getting home and reflecting on other stories that were shared I see that my path to creativity was different than so many because my Mom always said “Yes.”
I was raised by an amazing single mom in the ’70s and ‘80s, a hard time to be a single woman, and we were poor in a small town but I never knew that or thought about limits because when I think back, the most common answer I can remember from Mom was, YES! Could I be a ballerina? … sew a dress? …make a doll? …paint a picture? …be a star? …cut up the curtains to make a costume? “Yes” was her answer, always.
She was my biggest fan, my constant supporter, encouraging me to see what I could do on my own, try it, make it, be it. She taught me to love little things, see the world differently, find small joys, believe in myself and my abilities, and always try. Whatever I wanted to do, she found a way to make it possible and encouraged me.
Because of her, I live my life with the fundamental foundational belief that I am capable of anything I apply myself to. It may not be easy or great in the beginning, but if I try and practice and ask questions I will understand and grow and learn. I have been so many things in my life, and have had respectable careers and unconventional jobs, too. When I made the final decision to leave my well-paying job in corporate America to follow my heart in art she gave me a copy of Dr Seuss’s book, “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” No warning of impending financial instability as a ‘starving artist’, just total support for who I wanted to become. She was an amazing, strong, and enlightened woman.
I lost her in November of 2022, and Fall Color Week was my gift to myself from her. I wanted to choose things to do with her estate that would continue to enhance and enrich my life with the spirit she has instilled in me.
Just try it, you won’t know what you can do until you spread your wings and try. I know now how unique and amazing it was to be raised like this, I am blessed every day by her love and guidance.
If you weren’t lucky enough to be raised by someone who believed totally in you, it’s not too late to start seeing what’s possible in your own life, and if she was here, she would cheer you on too. We called her the Hope Inspirer because she could see the good and the possible in everyone.
She is why I believe in myself and why I’m an artist, and I celebrate her in everything I paint. I had an amazing mother, who always said yes.
That’s my story. Thank you, Mamma (Barbara Alyson Gayle Scott). I love you.