Monday, February 2, 2009

A Chance Encounter with a Stranger

Detail from a Chagall etching
Don’t you wish that life could always potter along on an even keel? Sometimes events descend on us that can really knock us sideways, just like a kick in the stomach. You can suddenly feel you are on a roller coaster that dips you into the depths of despair.

All of us go through times like these. As time passes, the ups and downs may become less pronounced and we may hit a plateau where we may float along with a welcome bit of peace and tranquillity.

A few years ago, during one such extraordinarily distressing time, I was on sales duty at a local exhibition. I had also been feeling dissatisfied with my paintings, they seemed to say very little about how I felt and who I am. Deep inside me I had questions about where my art was taking me.

An elderly man came in with his hiking boots and old gnarled stick. This exhibition hall is on the side of the mountain and we frequently get hikers stopping by. He spent ages, carefully looking at each painting. He called me over and said,
“These artists are very proficient in what they do, their technique is excellent but there doesn’t seem to be much soul in many of the paintings.”
I was immediately intrigued and questioned him further. He said,
“Artists are usually quite sensitive people and everyday life can be turbulent, life is a journey, it can be a difficult journey. An artist should use the power of that turbulence in their paintings. I am not saying they should paint dark and negative paintings, I am saying they should somehow portray the difficulties of life and how those difficulties have been overcome”.
I am trying to remember is his exact words, they were so relevant to me, they almost took my breath away.

We spoke for about 45 minutes – he spoke to my very soul without probably realizing it, he came and told me where I could go with my paintings and also a little bit about healing my soul. As he was about to leave, I asked him his name. He smiled in a gentle way and said, “Virgil” and went on his way.

I felt that I had been visited by some sort of vision. This dear, sweet man set me thinking about a new direction, a new path on which to travel.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dianne, Isn't it amazing how a chance encounter with someone can change your whole way of thinking. I feel we would all, as artists, like to achieve that spiritual essence in our work, something that can't be taught, just comes from the soul. I don't think you have to be in any angst or depression, such as Van Gogh for example, but it is certainly something that comes through of its own accord. Thank you for such an interesting posting, as usual written in your own profound and sensitive way which also shows in your paintings. x

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Lovely post..thank you for sharing. I believe we act as angels for one another and the key is to know it when it happens.

Elis Cooke said...

Oh Dianne what a wonderful story! we do all touch each other and have messages for each other... and so often the messages come from the most unexpected places/ times! thank you for sharing this story! I'm off to listen for my own messages lol! namaste Elis.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your story. It sounds as though you met a fellow artist. A soul brother. I feel the same way that he does (did) and would probably have made the same comments. These are the encounters that remind me of how much more there is to life than the material plane we cling to. And that's why you and I are friendly on this blogging journey!

Each time I start reading your interview with Kim, I'm interrupted and have not yet reached the end. BUT I've been enjoying every word and bit of your story. I'm so glad you're out there living your life and making your art and sharing it all with us. XO

Andrea and Kim said...

Dianne, you again share a lovely story we can all identify with. Just think of the people who will read it and feel just the way you did that day when you were talking to Vigil.

It seems to me, if we remain open, the gifts come at just the right time. The key is not only hearing them, but knowing the gifts they bring, don't you think.

This is truly a beautiful post!

Thank You

Art with Liz said...

Oh Dianne you see so much and hear so much - Virgil saw and helped you on the next step. But do you realise that you are a "Virgil" to so many of us?

Dianne said...

Dear Carolann,
Thanks for such a lovely comment! Isn't it amazing how a stranger's words can have such impact.

Dianne said...

Hi Mary Ann,
You are right that we can do the work of angels and touch each other in a significant way. As you say, we have to be open and receptive in order to recognise this kind of wisdom.

Dianne said...

Dear Elis,
So glad you visited! Yes, the key is to look for those messages in the most unexpected places or times. Namaste

Dianne said...

Suzanne, he indeed was a soul brother, it was as if he could see right into my heart/mind that day.
Thanks for having a go at the interview, it is rather long, Kim and I really loved this experience and gained so much over the last few weeks with the conversation flying back and forth.

Dianne said...

Dear Kim,
This story comes from my journal, I am so glad that I wrote about the experience on that same day, otherwise the memory might have faded.
Yes, the key is to recognise wisdom when it comes our way and embrace it rather than discarding it.

Dianne said...

Dear Liz,
Thanks so much for your kind words! I think we all inspire each other with the generous sharing of ideas in bloggerland. We all bring our own personality and preference to our blogs, making each one of us quite unique in our style of sharing - don't you love this about blogging?

sukipoet said...

This is an incredible story. As they say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. It does sound almost like a dream encounter or a vision for sure. But definitely, a blessing.

Mineke Reinders said...

That was certainly a magical encounter, Dianne. Thank you for sharing your story and passing on Virgil's wise observations, which are now touching others thanks to you.

Dianne said...

Dear Suki,
It was such a blessing! I was mulling over my worries and my way of painting and this man turned on the light with regard to both problems. The thought of channelling my strong feelings into my art sounded wonderful, an Ah-hah moment!

Dianne said...

Dear Mineke,
Thanks for your inciteful comment! I was worried that by sharing this story, my blogger friends would think me just a little bit weird or daft! An encounter with a wise stranger like this is rare. Sometime, I want to do a painting of this encounter.

~Babs said...

Dianne, thanks for introducing us to Virgil. He is a prime example of what I mean when I use my favorite expression: "Expect A Miracle" (we receive them every day if we know where to look) Some are a lot smaller than Virgil, most are,,,,but miracles, non the less.
Virgil was HUGE!
I could speak of an encounter very much like this one,a BIGGIE, that really freaked a lot of people out. I just smiled, and tucked it safely away in my spirit to relish; feeling almost smug in the 'knowing' of it. So there, now everyone knows I really AM daft!

Dianne said...

Oh Babs, have you written about this encounter on your blog? If so, please tell me when. I would love to hear about it!!!
Isn't it strange, how we think revealing these encounters might make others think we are daft - I really did have reservations about revealing this story - thinking I might be relegated to the "blog-slightly-mad" box!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Dianne, thank you for sharing your encounter with "Virgil the wise man." Have you ever noticed that when you feel kind of low, it seems as if your thoughts call for guidance? I mean in the sense that you look up and see something in nature that seems to speak to you...or a memory reminds you of what you need to know...or in your case a person who can speak about your particular question arrives. Life-how amazingly mysterious! <3

Kathleen Hebert said...

Hi Dianne:
I would say that you had a visitation. Because of that moment, because of that inspiration, you have become an inspiration to many of us. It is your kindness and words of wisdom that have opened up my eyes. It is the feeling in my soul when I look at your paintings that inspires me to paint more, to look more, to try more. Thank-you, Dianne!!!! - Kathy


I have read some of your posts. I liked the same and would like to revisit your website.

If you like short stories and paintings, then a visit to my blogs would be an interesting one for you.

Naval Langa

Another Interesting Blog

Dianne said...

Dear Cynthia,
Yes, isn't life mysterious! There is so much we do not understand, sometimes we might get a glimpse at something just out of our reach. The way to live our lives in a positive fashion is to be aware of possible answers out there in nature, memories or in the wisdom of others and be receptive to those answers.

Dianne said...

Dearest Kathy,
Your words always give me the warm feeling of a great big hug! Isn't it wonderful that a comment can pop into our mail box first thing in the morning and really brighten up the whole day!
Thank you, Kathy!!!!!

Dianne said...

Dear Naval.
Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading the postings here. I will definitely come and visit your blogs when I am finished here.

Unknown said...

Dianne, I left a lengthy comment here yesterday oh it seems to be lost in cyberspace...I love this post and just wanted to say thank you for sharing this "apparition" with us, these words are very helpful while I'm questioning myself about certain things...
have a great day

Lynette said...

I got goosebumps on my arm, what an amazing visit and conversation. I wish there were more like Virgil in this world...heck I wish I could run across him too, just amazing!

Dianne said...

Dear Andrea,
So sorry the gremlins got you! It is so annoying after writing a long comment!
So glad my story has some relevance for you!

Dianne said...

Hi Lynette,
I also had goosebumps after he had walked out of the door! Perhaps we can also be that inspiring to the people we come in contact with, to really listen to what people have to say and then to choose our words wisely.

Anonymous said...

Dear Di,
Thankyou for this amazing story, related in your usual beautifully eloquent way. I like to think you were visited by an angel! And now I feel Virgil's touch too. My present worries are almost too much to bear at times. I haven't painted seriously for about 2 months and my soul is needing that nourishment. I have decided that today I am going back into my studio, mindful of the gift Virgil gave you and now me. It will be hard, but I am excited at the prospect of travelling down a new path of discovery.
Much love, Wyn.

Dianne said...

Dear Wyn,
I am so sorry that you are bearing a heavy load on your shoulders. It is very hard to paint when you are feeling low and yet it is the best way to take your mind away from those racing thoughts.

I hope you can relax and enjoy travelling down that new path.

I keep thinking about those three, "Back to Basics" paintings that you were reluctant to sell. Those paintings held quite a bit of significance for you, expand on this theme perhaps as a starting point.

Diane McGregor said...

Dear Dianne, what an inspiring story! I can imagine every detail. Thank you for sharing it!

Dianne said...

Dear Diane,
So glad you were inspired by this!

Jess said...

Hi Dianne, I was led here from Kim's blog. What a wonderful story, it reminds me that the more we share our art with others the more it attracts that special guidance that a fellow soul can give. Thanks for the inspiration.x

soulbrush said...

what an incredible story, gives me shivers up my back. wow!

Dianne said...

Dear Jessie,
Thanks so much for visiting! I love what you have to say here, since I have been sharing my art on my blog, I have come to know some incredible souls from across the world.

Dianne said...

Hi Soul, yes, it gives me goose-bumps to think about it!