Grateful to Velasquez
I've been thinking about the moments in our lives that only in hindsight reveal themselves to have been turning points.

It's the early 90's, I’m in my mid-twenties, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I'm just enjoying the art in each gallery, taking it all in, then turn a corner to be suddenly dumbstruck.

In front of me is Velasquez’s portrait of Juan de Pareja (1650). I swear the lights dim on everything else but that painting.

Stunned into silence, I lose interest in anything else.

Back then I wasn’t a painter yet. I was an illustrator creating whimsical images for corporate and advertising clients. (Things like a cartoony stick of talking butter, a grinning greased pig, or elephants and donkeys, for clients like VeryFine juice, IBM, or Reader’s Digest).

Being a "real" painter seemed like a distant dream. But down deep it’s what I longed for.

That day at the MET, long before I knew it, an essential foundation was being laid. Without it, I would have had no chance of becoming a good painter.

I first needed to be transported by the paintings of others. Blown away. Reduced to tears. Gob-smacked.

I will always be grateful that Velasquez did that to me all those years ago. Because before anything else, I needed to be a lover of painting.

Wishing you gratitude as you look back on a turning-point moment or two from your story -