Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wanted to paint at the big easel in the back of the classroom. Every day she would watch, enviously, as another child got to go to the back and paint to their heart’s delight.

One day it was her turn – at last!  She poured her heart and soul out on that big piece of paper.  X’s and butterflies and squiggly shapes all came together in one mad swirling image.  Her teacher was duly impressed and hung the picture up in the hallway for all to see.

Well, I was that little girl, and now decades later, I still recall that first thrill of self-expression and abandonment.  There were many wonderful hectic years when there was no time for painting; self-expression took the form of doing arts and crafts projects with my children, and creativity was in the kitchen trying to invent something my picky eaters would digest.

But life is cyclical, and children grow up, and suddenly I had the time again to create and the need for self-expression came back full force.

Quite frankly, I didn’t know where to begin after so many years. I was afraid. I sat and stared at the little board I had bought and wondered what to do with it. My eye caught hold of an old photograph of my mother and her grandfather. Very tentatively, I tried to recreate the image, but something rather strange happened. A different picture appeared, one of me and my mother, and it was so comical and sad and true at the same time. So that was the beginning, again.

As the artist, who still carries the image of her first easel around in her mind, I try to maintain that childlike enthusiasm and abandonment, because I want to create art that sings and dances and is perhaps sometimes pensive, but always draws you back, to look again.

Rivka Lemberg