AWAI Writing Challenge Honorable Mention:
Uncovering Hidden Talents

“You know, I really wish that I’d discovered that I have this talent
so much earlier in life”

Hearing those words from my partner Carole let me know that I’d given her the best gift ever

This was a gift that helped her discover a talent that had been locked up inside her, kept under lock and key by the everyday pressures of just earning a living and paying the bills.

Two years back I was facing the usual problem of what to get her for a birthday gift-always a dilemma as her birthday is so close to the Christmas break that the two events seem to meld together. Fact is, some of her “cheaper” friends used it as a one gift fits both occasion.

Late one afternoon, just a couple of days before her birthday-we were driving alongside the river near our house and as we came ‘round a curve there were two old guys fishing off the bridge. They were bundled up in the cold weather gear and sipping from a couple of paper cups as they gazed at the water that shone like old gold with the light from the setting sun.

Well, Carole made me stop so she could take a picture of the scene on her cell phone camera, and later that evening she tried to use our Paint software to enlarge and print it on glossy paper. I thought that it was looking pretty good-but she wasn’t happy with it and spent hours tweaking and changing the result until she finally gave up.

Next morning just before she left for work she spoke those magic words that sparked the gift idea

“I could probably have got a better result if I’d hand painted it”

Bingo! Soon as she’d gone I jumped in the truck and made it into town and tracked down an artists supply store

I never knew there were so many kinds of paint:-Oil paint, Water Color paint, Acrylic paint-and all of it expensive paint!

Just to be on the safe side I grabbed a good selection of paints and followed up with a variety of brushes and a pile of canvas boards and sketchpads.

So I was a little deflated when on birthday morning she opened the package and said.

“But I can’t paint”

I nagged her to give it a try for a few days-but let it drop and forgot about it with all the Christmas distractions.

It was near the end of January when I came home from a long trip and there she was with the easel set up by the window with a near finished picture of the two fishermen on the canvas-it was fabulous-and I could tell that she thought it was good as well because she didn’t try and cover it up as I came into the room.

So, even her daily commute holds an interest for her now as there’s always something that grabs her attention as she drives the country route. It just takes a quick click of the camera and she’s got that scene for later translation onto canvas.

There’s a spin off here:Because she likes to paint while the image is still fresh she will often come straight in from work and settle down to paint, and that leaves me to arrange the evening meal. There’s only so much take out that a body can suffer-so I have been honing my cooking skills and finding that I enjoy doing it.

The result is that from that one gift we have both discovered new talents and abilities that we never dreamed that we had. Proof that we all have some magic inside us if only we are willing to find that key to unlock the vault.

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Published: January 7, 2010

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