When local artist Adrian Chu Redmond told me she was heading to France, Spain, and Greece this summer, naturally I was jealous. Then she told me she was hiking 700 miles and I was no longer jealous but a little worried why she would do that to herself. After seeing pictures of her trip hiking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage from France to Spain I can now see why one would choose to do this excursion and hopefully someday I will as well.
“Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.” – Antonio Machado
As the Spanish poet suggests, we make our paths in life by paving our own way. Hence, my decision to take the spiritual journey on the ROAD TO SANTIAGO this past June. The El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James) commences in St. Jean Pied de Port (French Pyrenees) and travels 700 kilometers to the Spanish city of Santiago where it is believed that the ornate granite cathedral there houses the remains of the Apostle, St. James.
This ancient Christian pilgrimage, which dates back to the 11th century, offers a modern day retreat that provides an opportunity for spiritual growth while walking for weeks on foreign land. With the mountainous terrain, aggressive distance, a 22lb backpack, and blistered feet, I found inner strength to push ahead and embrace the mental and physical challenges of the unknown road ahead.
For me, living out of a backpack, hiking the beautiful Spanish countryside and walking through small hamlets with pilgrims from around the world has taught me much about myself while providing an adventure away from the bustle of day to day life.
Each pilgrim’s walking journey culminates at the magnificent cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. All pilgrims, regardless of their religious affiliations or beliefs, share in a most special Mass. The message of the celebrant’s homily focused on art and painting as a metaphor for our life’s journey. We cannot live our life as a blank canvas. We must celebrate life by embracing both light and darkness, bright and subdued, for it is only in the contrasts that we can truly appreciate the colors.
As an artist the message was clear.
There are valuable lessons to be learned on the Camino:
- Take time to pause – You can’t appreciate the present if you are not in it.
- Trust yourself – It is important to honor and trust in one’s self. This allows you to be confident in anything you choose to do.
- Be open- This is where there can be a never-ending supply of what one searches for or needs- love, energy, support, guidance, learning, nurturing, etc.
- Share yourself- Give freely of your time, your heart, your wisdom and your hopes.
- Believe in what you do and you will do it better.
- And most of all, IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS!
Adrian Chu Redmond
Name: Lisa Moore with her son Jake below.
Best Restaurant in Atlanta: I love Lure in Midtown…
or The Original El Taco in Virginia Highlands.
Travel get away: I LOVE LOVE LOVE Rome Italy!
Cocktail of Choice: Moscow Mule – Ginger beer, vodka, and lime.
Best Recipe: My special brownies. I use two pkgs of Giradelli triple fudge, 3 eggs, follow directions for double oil and water, add pecans and butterscotch chips. Cook at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Best thing to put in your mouth!
Favorite Quote: “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most Influential Person:
I do not have one person who has influenced my career. I have people who have in their own way given me tidbits to move forward on my path. My mother first and foremost. She has always allowed free expression even when she did not like it. I am not talking about being disrespectful but she promoted an environment where I was allowed to challenge everything and make my own sense of what is truth.
My brother, my Mother and I.
The original Little Rascals. I am the one with one shoe on, no shirt, and a yellow hat. Just shows how she let me be free and never restricted my creativity.
My good friend and fellow painter Clara Blalock- Clara quietly asked me one day when I was splitting my time in the non-profit world and painting… “Well, are you going to be a painter or not because you can’t be both” She was right. That little honest question gave me permission/courage to let go and focus on the work.
Probably the most influential person in how I approach my work is someone I do not even remember her name. I saw this woman speak at a System’s Thinking conference in Boston. She had less experience in my field at that time than I did, she had less success in changing organizations or improving quality in healthcare than I did however she had taken the time to “ show up” , submit her paper and there she was a featured expert. I was 28 and that lesson is one of the most influential lessons of my life. Show up! Put yourself and your work out there! There is always someone more talented than you but you never have to let someone outwork you. So I approach painting that way. There are many many many more talented artists than me but I will show up and work and work and work and from that effort, my work will improve and I will be successful.
What inspires you? Beauty. I am inspired by the beauty within the familiar. The feeling of love and joy in watching children at play or the history written on the peeling surface of a forgotten barn, beauty in form, beauty in joy, beauty in a graceful animal or landscape. My hope is through my art, viewers will tap into the emotions of comfort and joy that stem from the simple things of everyday life like holding a child’s hand or feeling the warmth of an animal. We are bombarded with images of the ugly in our world. My hope is that my paintings can provide a respite from the negative, so we can all maintain our perspective of how truly blessed we are.
Studio Location: My studio is in Chamblee, GA.
Most asked about object in your studio: The garage door. “Do you open the door when you work? The trains are so cool!”
Daily Inspiration: My routine. It takes about an hour of looking, mixing paint switching canvases to find the right composition to get my flow. I do get stuck but I push through. I paint almost everyday even when I am not inspired. The flow will come but I have to push through the block.
Do you get stuck creatively? YES!!! All the time then I make myself look at this video of Jack White discussing the use of restriction and creativity. I create deadlines to force creativity, I restrict my palette. I make myself work. Procrastination is the killer of creativity. I try to learn from creative people in general, not just other painters, about their process what makes them a success etc… . I try to follow this philosophy. Hard work alone will beat talent alone 100% of the time but talent plus hard work are unstoppable.
Moment you wanted to be a full-time artist: I had taken a fulltime position as the strategic planner and organizational Coach for a large school system after a 4 year hiatus to raise my son. We were all miserable. I had no flexibility, my child was having to stay in day care until late everyday . My husband was losing money because he was taking off to care for our child. In the meantime, my work began to sell and was being leased by movie sets etc… It was like God had a huge bat and was hitting me saying “NOOO not this!!!” go do that!!”So, I made the leap. Everything in my life was directing me to be a fulltime painter. I just knew it would work out. It was scary letting go of the big salary and benefits but I knew it would be ok and it was the right thing for me. I was 43 years old and I have never looked back.
What would you do if you were not an artist? I have no other option right now. Yes I have degrees in other areas. I have 20 years of experience consulting and working in the corporate world but I am now in a place where I want and choose “this” life. So, there is no other option for me. I will do whatever it takes to be the kind of painter I want to be until I am given another direction to follow.