Joy of Art
by Suzanne Kelley Clark
While painting on a beach in Mexico a woman came up and sat beside me. Occasionally she would gesture with her arms. Then another woman sat down near me and said, "She wants your painting, don't give it to her, she's crazy." "Really?" I said. She told me that she consistently did things like this to make money. Being in a place where I did not understand the language, nor the customs... I thought, well if she likes it that much, if it gives her that much joy... because she became more excited as I worked... I did give it to her. She lifted it up, danced around smiling and laughing, the other woman who was trying to help me, shook her head. But I have to say it was very satisfying watching someone become excited about having the small painting.
Then later the maid in the motel room became very interested in the watercolors themselves, again I could not communicate with her. She looked at the tubes and the palette with excitement and longing. After she left, I went through the pack of supplies I had brought with me, made a pack including paint, brushes, paper and a small palette and gave it to her the next day. She almost cried.
The realities I encountered there were so extreme. Somehow my experiences in Mexico made it clear why I am making art and also what an amazing form of communication it is. On my return, it made it easier for me to show it, sell it, and give it away.