Painting Day For Dad by Peter Nicolaou

Have you ever asked God for help before walking into a bar?  I did before entering Bar 13 in New York City on September 29th 2011 to attend a networking event.  I looked up to heaven and asked for help with my dad’s battle with cancer, my life, career and any/everything else that God could help me with.  I took a deep breathe, did my cross, walked in the door, followed the signs for the event up to the rooftop and met the host of the group.

The host immediately introduced me to the person standing next to him.  His name was John.  I looked up at John and the first words out of my mouth were, “please help me, I have no idea what I am doing here or how to get this started.” John said, “Yes sure, No problem.  We walked to the middle high top table of the space began our conversation.  John spoke about his career in radio and about all the art he has made starting with sketches, tags and spray paint all the way to oil bars and abstract expressionism.  I delved into the story of how my dad’s cancer had returned what was going on with health and my activities as his caregiver.

After the event we exchanged contact info and he invited my to meet him and his friends at IBM think exhibit on October 7th at the Lincoln Center in New York City.  A couple of weeks later in November 2011 he invited me to his house for a BBQ.  I went with my cousin and friend.

At his house he showed me the wide range art he had made over a 25 year period and gifted me one of his paintings.  I was very grateful.  No one had ever given me art as a gift before.  The evening progressed with more show and tell starring John Lohse and his collection of art named Art Lohse.

An idea struck me for another activity to help my dad that I hadn’t tried yet.  I looked at John and asked “Why don’t we do a painting day where you could come to my house give my dad and some friends an art lesson. “Would you be interested in doing that?” John loved the idea and agreed to help. We confirmed the event date for December 17th 2011.  That day was to be called “Painting Day for Dad”

On Dec 17th, 2011 I picked John up, went to the art store, bought supplies, went to my parents’ house and set up the den for Painting Day.

Friends and family sat at the table waiting in anticipation for my father to make his entrance.  My dad slowly made his way down the stairs wearing a large blue adult size onesie and big black French beret.  He descended down to step before last and hopped over it on to the floor landing with ease, both arms extended in a tada!!! pose.

Painting Day began by John instructing the group to make a line. Each artist created one line, then another and some went right into color.  “Make a line” turned in to much, much more.  John assisted by offering suggestions in regards to the lines, shapes, colors and content that was being created.  It was interesting to watch each piece being made and all the art seemed to be angled in my father’s direction as if all the art was indeed recognizing where the most help was needed and positioned itself that way.

My dad took a pencil, made art for 45 minutes and presented his work to the group before going back upstairs to lay down.  We were all so proud of him going for as long as he did.  He looked happy to be hanging out with everyone.

The last person to finish their drawing was me.  I was happy with it and felt like I was done when John instructed me to “now, add color”. I looked at him and asked “color”? which one, there are so many!”

John responded,

“There are no wrong answers only choices. Pick a color and get started. If you don’t like what you chose you can always change your mind and go back and start over.”

I chose yellow and began.  When I was finished I asked John what he thought the painting meant.  He said it looked like old ideas are fading away and new ones were beginning to blossom.  He also said that It looked like my roots were strong they just needed somewhere to be planted. Painting Day then came to a close and I thanked everyone for helping dad.

I didn’t realize it then but this was the beginning of my Art Journey.  During the day I gave care to my father and every night I worked on Art.

Dad was even able  put in one more art session a few weeks later on January 9th 2012 and added color to his work

This was a big moment for me because I was next to him working on a piece.  We had a lifetime of great father son memories and we added making art together to those memories.  I am forever grateful.

This will be the 5th year of my art journey and my current project is The Sea Glass Collection of #artonasurfboard.  These are all donated surfboards. So Far I have completed 70 pieces of SeaGlass that have been sold, auctioned or raffled to raise either food, funds or awareness at events that I have produced or participated to help special needs

I gave the gift of art to my Dad and I feel he gave the gift back to me to help others as well as myself.

Thank you John Lohse for Helping.

Thank you God for Listening.

Thank you reader for reading : )