Joy, do you have a whale in your house?

Ms. Catherine is a charming lady who runs a beautiful preschool out of Lake Oswego. She comes by often at my Portland Saturday Market booth to purchase my whale prints. She keeps coming back for more because she keeps giving them away to her house guests who express fondness for them.

Her latest purchase from me was the coloring sheets. She came back a couple weeks later to tell me how her kids had a great time coloring, and that they were bewildered that she actually personally "knows" the artist who painted the whales. Well, long story short, few weeks later, I found myself in her preschool as a pseudo-guest-art-teacher making art with her beautiful little students.

One boy, we'll call him Ben, had a pressing question. "Joy, how did you draw a whale? Do you have a whale in your house? Do you have a big aquarium?" I badly wished that I did, just so I could say yes, and have a magical conversation.

Speaking of magic, Ms. Catherine has an enchanting little room in her preschool, where the kids are encouraged to paint the walls with stories that their brilliant minds imagine up. I was so fascinated by each and every covered spots on the walls, I could have spent all day in that room if I was allowed.

Only one brief hour spent with these little kids and they were giving me hugs and told me that they loved me. I love them too. It is wonderfully baffling that love is so immediate and uncomplicated with children. Was I like that too when I was little? When I got in my car and waved goodbye at them who kept repeating "bye Joy," "bye Joy" over and over again, my heart was full with love and happiness, and I couldn't wait to paint again. They inspired me.

Thank you, Ms. Catherine, for your love for the arts. You're a true advocate. Thank you, kids, for inspiring me in ways that no accomplished artist can.