Monday, September 14, 2015

SOUL Journey

by Carol





I have a friend of 30 years who just embarked on a journey. It is an outward journey to an inward destination. Her journey's purpose reflects everything that we here at FOL are all about - self-knowledge, fulfillment, empowerment through creativity.

Most of us here ( maybe all of us here?) started our journey late in life, but my friend Tomi Petrella has been an artist all her life. Trained at The Rhode Island School of Design and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, she has earned a living and built a life supported by her art, which is a major accomplishment in itself. Beyond that, she is the artist in everything she does. Her own words here -  "My business, along with making a home, made me realize that visually, everything is a composition and palette, whether it is a mural, furniture selections, a kitchen cabinet layout or a fabulous meal........I believe that beautiful, cohesive choices in all the things that you surround yourself with always enhance the quality of your life."

I can vouch for that. She has always decorated (and constantly redecorated!) in a unique and fascinating style. It was a new adventure every time I went to her house - a new arrangement, faux painting, wall (!), nook - always creating something from nothing. She helped me redesign my upstairs floor when I needed a third bedroom, finding space where I never knew I had it. It was her mantle that inspired my first photographic series.







I once went to a last minute dinner party at her house. (BTW, planning a dinner party with less than 3 or 4 weeks notice qualifies as last minute for me.)  She planned the party while cleaning out her basement the day before. (The cleaning would have been my weekend!))  Anyway, she had come across a pile of tiles in the cellar. We guests arrived the next day to a beautiful venue, a delicious and original meal, and at each place was a hand painted tile! One afternoon, as we sat on her porch with wine, she noticed some interesting weeds in her garden. She grabbed a can of gold spray paint and a few pins or something, and before I could blink an eye, the little weeds had been relieved of their deadheads, and had become little people with bowed heads and dreadlocks drying on her railing. Going to craft fairs with her was a bit discouraging though - I would come home with a squeaky clean wallet and a few bags of goodies. The next time I visited, she would have recreated the crafts she had looked at for pennies! Sigh.....






I could go on and on. Watching her live was one of the forces that made me so badly want to unearth my creative side. In recent years, some major life changes have thrown a curve ball at my wonderful friend. And now, she has not only caught that curve ball, she is throwing it straight to home plate. She has sold her house, sold or stored her possessions and hit the road to pursue the true artistic goals that have been in her heart since college. Tomi is documenting her journey in a new blog called "Eat, Pray Paint," and it reflects her heart and soul, as well as her creativity. Her first post is here, and explains why she is making these choices, and the challenges ahead of her. The blog resides on  her website, where you can also page through the beautiful art she has spent years creating. Like our FOL guest post friends, Sherry Galey (FOL 2/20/14) and her sailing adventures,  and Patricia Turner (FOL 2014) and her personal Walden Pond, or Terry Hood and her photographic recreations of the Dutch Masters, Tomi is a true inspiration. I hope you will be watching and supporting her on her journey, as I will.


As David DuChemin says "Don't let the stuff that currently sustains what you do, and what you love, put out the fire. Make the time to do your best work for yourself, to complete your personal projects, be with your kids, to pack the tent into the truck and go to the woods for the night. Don't let too much time pass before you jump into a lake, or go to Venice or see the friends you love.....Neglect the fire and everything that makes you who you are starts to fade. Your brand gets muddy. Your value slides. And the quality of your work declines. Feed the fire, fan it to flame, and (to quote Jonathan Edwards) the world will come to watch you burn."

So, Bon Voyage my sweet friend. You have the support and good wishes of all who love you and all who will come to love you through your travels. May you find adventures both internal and external and may you enjoy the seeking!





































9 comments:

Peggy said...

Bravo to your friend who obviously knows how to grab life with both hands. I can't wait to read her blog. She is doing what most of us only dream of.

Eileen Saum said...

Carol this is fantastic and a wonderful tribute to your beautiful friend. Love. Love. Love. I will be following you and Tomi -- my inspirations!

kelly said...

wow carol! what an inspirational way to start the week. thank you for sharing your friend's story!

Dotti said...

I am always in awe of people who have the courage to sell their homes, take on a long journey or seek a new, simpler lifestyle. Although I simply can't imaging doing this (just call me the Cowardly Lion), I love stories like this. And my mind goes numb when I meet or hear of people who are as creative as Tomi. You can bet I'll be following her blog! Thanks for the resources, Carol.

sherrygaley.com said...

Thank you for writing this Carol and introducing us to your inspirational friend, Tomi. I will be following her and rooting for her as she pursues her bliss. We are all so very different in terms of what that is, but let us all move even a little closer every day…(Honoured to be mentioned in Tomi's company.)

heyjudephotography said...

I look forward to reading your Tomi's blog as she goes on this journey. Such an inspiring story.

terriporter said...

Great post, Carol! Like Dotti, I always admire people who are adventurous enough to drop everything and follow their dreams. Also, like Dotti, I can't imagine doing it but I definitely admire those who do and follow them with great interest. I will be adding Tomi's blog to my list of places to visit. She sounds like someone I will admire as well.

Liz said...

Great post, Carol! I totally agree with Dotti!

Deanna said...

I so admire those that "go for it" follow their dreams and take up an unexpected life. How many of us dream of this, but never take those steps. Bravo and good traveling!!

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