When I was younger, I attended a charity event. My father and I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a medical conference. The hospital he worked for at the time was hosting a dinner event to raise funds for medical research. I stayed in the hotel room the majority of the time while my father attended continuing education sessions. However, I was invited to attend the final program of the conference- a dinner and silent art auction. I ate my meal of roasted chicken and sautéed greens at a large round table and was surrounded by medical professionals who were dressed in their best suits. I overheard discussions of funding and advancements in the field of science, and the pieces of art they admired most or planned to bid on. And, from time to time, I was asked if I planned to follow in the footsteps of my father and pursue a medical degree in a few years. I proudly informed them that, while I was proud of my father’s achievements, I had another career interest in mind–art.
About an hour later, the moment I was waiting for had arrived. One of my favorite artists approached the podium to give her speech. The guest speaker was the renowned artist, Cecile Montgomery.
She was the same age as I was, and her talent superseded her. Cecile talked to the attendees about her experience as a young artist and child prodigy. She explained that her journey to becoming an artist occurred by happenstance. I listened in awe when she explained that she took an after-school art program and was encouraged to paint something while she waited for her parents to pick her up from school. She did not have prior experience with art; however, she obliged. Her instructor was in disbelief when he saw the finished canvas and was incredulous as to whether or not she painted the image. When she produced another brilliant work, her instructor called her parents right away to inform them of their daughter’s discovered talent.
After her talk, I impatiently stood in line to shake her hand during the meet and greet. I told her how much I admired her artwork. She was kind enough to autograph a brochure (that I still have in my possession today). Today, her impressionistic landscape and still-life paintings are priceless. Her artwork and personal journey has provided a beautiful impetuous for my own personal journey with art.