Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stained Glass Art - I Decided to Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before

Over 30 years ago, I...
  • Lived near a Tidewater inlet to the Chesapeake Bay in Seaford, Virginia.
  • Was a lieutenant colonel in the Army.
  • Ran 50 miles a week training for the Marine Corps Marathon.
  • Had two teenage sons.
  • Created this unusual stained glass piece.

It was the only stained glass art work I ever created. Today it's displayed in our master bathroom and looks great in the afternoon light.

My ex-wife was the real stained glass artist - not me. She was very accomplished and passionate about her work until the day she concluded that our culture would never value this aspect of art enough to appropriately pay for the hours it took her to create it. She could make ten times as much money cooking french fries at McDonald's. So she got rid of all her equipment and left all that behind her, never again to create anything in stained glass.

She didn't get a job at McDonald's, however. Instead, she went back to college, maintained a 4.0 average, and graduated from the College of William and Mary business school, magna cum laude.

But during the years that she worked as an artist, I sometimes assisted her in the menial set-up work.

Inevitably, I wondered if I should try creating something myself. I knew I would only do it once, so I decided to do something ambitious. I decided on an impressionistic, symbolic approach. This meant that instead of a few dozen glass pieces soldered together, I would have to use hundreds. The project took me four months to complete.

The image represents universal energy, whether on a cosmic scale or an atomic scale.

So over 30 years ago I put on my uniform and performed my military duties, and none of my colleagues knew I had created this unusual piece of stained glass art.

Today, I'm still pleased with the result. And I'm still fascinated by the cosmos.

Each morning while I'm shaving I see this image in the mirror. It reminds me that I have the potential to be creative, an essential inspiration because I'm challenged more than ever to exercise this strength in my work.

It's a testament to what an ordinary guy can do if he dreams big and doesn't give up.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2014. Building Personal Strength .

1 comment:

Kathleen Scott said...

Love this post Denny. And your stained glass piece, which I see as a sunrise. And you.