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She Just Started Painting

When one asks an artist how or when she started her creative efforts, the response is, more often than not, that it has always been so. ‘I have been painting ever since I was a child,’ she generally replies.

Even if the artist got started relatively late in life, she might note that she had always wanted to paint, or sculpt, just never had the opportunity until …

Those, however, are not the answers one gets from Klaire.

January 7, 2007 is Klaire’s response. That’s when she started to paint.

But you always wanted to paint, right?

Never before then, she replies.

OK … but it occurred to you that this is something you might enjoy?

It never occurred to me, she iterates.

So on January 7, 2007, Klaire just started painting. She had never studied art, she had little interest in art. But on that date, something miraculous occurred she believes. Klaire picked up paint brush, applied paint to surface and, in just a few minutes, a work of art was completed – a work of art that she sold within a short time for $85. And on that date, a life was changed.

A Toledo native, Klaire has had her share of challenges during her adult life. As recently as 1997, she was on welfare bringing home $400 a month. In fact from the age of 17, when she was married, she spent the next 11 years on welfare.

Everything changed in 1997 when she got a good-paying job with Chrysler. From then until 2004, she and her kids lived a good life. She eventually bought a house.

But in 2004, Klaire got sick and started losing consciousness, at home and at work. She got sicker and sicker with an apparent stomach condition but the doctors she saw were unable to diagnose the problem. She lost her job at Chrysler. She lost her house. She was living in her car and visiting hospitals trying to find out what was wrong with her.

Depression set in, her weight ballooned to 220 pounds. “I didn’t want to live,” she says now. “I wanted to kill myself.”

On December 31, 2006, Klaire was back in the hospital for her undiagnosed stomach problems and remembers a nurse she saw in the middle of the night … not a nurse really, on second look. Whoever she was, the visitor prayed for Klaire for several minutes. The next morning, a nurse gave Klaire five crayons for her personal use.

Klaire was clearly not ready to use the crayons so she slipped them under her pillow.

A few days later, she was discharged from the hospital and decided to treat her 16-year old daughter – her youngest child – to a visit to a store to pick up a few things to entertain. Her daughter, on the other hand, had a different idea. She thought her mother needed something from the store to inspire her. She suggested to Klaire that she try her hand at painting.

Klaire was unconvinced.

Her daughter, undaunted by her mother’s negative reply, selected five acrylic paints – ironically enough, the same five colors her mysterious visitor had selected several days earlier – and five brushes.

Encouraged by her daughter, Klaire finally broke out the material on January 7, 2007 and painted a church in about 10 minutes. She sold the painting a few weeks later. She kept painting. Filled her house with her paintings. Paintings that just flowed out of her … quickly … in minutes. Within 30 days, she says, she had sold everything in the house.

How would you describe your work, a visitor asks her?

She can’t really. She knows that she paints in a 360 degree style and three dimensional. Her paintings can be turned and flipped – there is no right side up. She paints on many different surfaces – canvas, boxes, furniture, clothes … even people at times.

“I just do it, I don’t have to think about it.”

Bright, vivid colors. Lots of florals, lots of geometric shapes – not that she knows where this stuff is coming from. Fortunately, it does come.

Klaire just recently was invited to display her art in a major Columbus, OH studio. So the art thing is going pretty well. So is the health thing.

As mysteriously as her health deteriorated, her problems disappeared. She has been relatively untroubled since she started painting. She once took 13 medications, she is now down to three; down from eight doctors to one.

She just keeps painting.

©The Truth Colours Gallery  •  (347) 286-9227  •  7 East Bancroft Street  •  Toledo, Ohio 43604  • nikolacolours@yahoo.com