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  • Robin Altman

Finding Inspiration with Jack


In order to create inspiring artwork, I have to feel inspired. When I feel the wheels of my life grinding painfully, it means I need to do something to feed myself emotionally. Being a workaholic isn’t functional for me as an artist. There’s several things I love to do that feed my creative soul. I like to see good movies, swim in the ocean, take a trip to a town I’ve never been to before or even just sit by the pool for a few hours. Yesterday I did something that was especially gratifying. I had my grandson Jack over to spend time with me. The backpack was already stocked with drinks, snacks, a camera and carrots for our hike. We’d planned to visit the horses who live nearby. Despite his 3 hours of playtime at the park that day, Jack was still up for going to see the horses with me. He even chose the longer and hillier way around to the stables because going that way; we get to pass through two tunnels! The best part of the hike for me is seeing the scenery through his five-year-old eyes. “This is a real adventure Grandma!” he exclaimed as we set out. The fields of yellow mustard soared over his head. It prompted him to put his soft little hand in mine as we strode up the March hills. Occasionally we stopped to examine caterpillars, snails, wildflowers and bunnies. We’d gotten a late start so by the time we got to the tunnels the golden lights were on in them. Going through the tunnels always makes me think of the time when a person leaves this world for another one. Jack ran to the other end being more enticed with what was on the other side than the tunnel itself. Upon exiting the tunnel I noticed the pungent smell of night blooming jasmine. By the time we reached the horses the temperature had dropped 10 degrees and the sky was a deep navy blue. Three white horses heard us rustling the bag with the carrots in it and they ambled down to the gate to greet us. The cold air and dim light made their deep throated nickering and warm muzzles feel even more inviting as we offered up the sweet carrots. I pulled the lapel of Jack’s coat up over his ears as we headed towards home. Within minutes after entering the warmth of the house, we were enjoying a hot meal of scrambled eggs and buttered toast, accompanied by huge ripe strawberries and sliced apples. For dessert we had popcorn and a single square of chocolate. We read picture books pushing our tired bare feet under the fuzzy white blanket I keep folded at the foot of my bed. These are tender times that keep my happy artwork authentic. I hope little Jack gets as much out of these days as I do. Maybe someday he’ll be inspired to go on a hike with a child of his own and hold their sweet soft hand in his big one.

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