First a Hobby … Then a Bridge

What Started as a Hobby Continues as a Bridge

By Charles David Kelley

PHILOMATH, Oregon – I painted my first painting in 2004.  This little video shows the process.  I got hooked on painting that day and have since tried to make a new painting every week. I haven’t always succeeded, but I painted more than 400.  Special thanks to Aleksejs Naumovs, former Rector of the Latvian Academy of Art.  He was my first teacher.  We have since painted together many times.

And I must extend special thanks to Kaspars Zarins, also a professor at the Art Academy, and my friend and painting mentor for many years.

When I decided to learn to paint, it was for personal joy and expression. I had no idea that the creation of art wields such great powers of personal healing and restoration.  I was surprised at how my pulse and breathing slowed and how I lost track of time.  These are the healing things that happen when we go on restorative vacations.

I also did not know how my new hobby would lead to profound conversations and numerous meaningful friendships, in several countries. Five years ago, the organization I lead, Bridge Builders International, began to bring Latvian and Estonian artists together every summer for purposes higher than their art.

Finally, I continue to see how every new opportunity not only fulfills the purposes of an event or activity, it opens doors for more important and influential interactions not only with artists, but also art catalysts and thought leaders.

Painting is so much more than dabbing color on canvas. Little did I know back in 2004 when I painted my first painting that this interest would open so many doors and influence so many people.

Again, have fun watching this video.