Our Song, oil painting by Daniel Ambrose of pelicans flying over ocean at sunrise

Our Song, oil painting by Daniel Ambrose

More than thirty years ago, I setup an easel in a bedroom of the house I had built over the previous four years. Married at twenty-two, I started building it when I was twenty-four. In the sunlight of that room, I set a ten year goal to paint and see where it led.

I designed and built that three bedroom, two bath house myself. Trimmed the interior walls with heart cypress that I custom shaped and lacquered, and fabricated the kitchen cabinets from solid oak with raised panel doors. The fireplace hearth was Tennessee field stone. I made a wrap around porch, band-sawing the railings, finished it off by making a porch swing. The month I turned earth with a shovel on the house foundation, I also started a sign business.

I had read that the way to create wealth was to build a business over thirty years. I had a lot dreams, energy and ambition. I thought about this as I stood on the roof with a 10 lb sledge hammer, pounding a steel well into the ground.

Running a sign business, raising a family and creating an award-winning art career are all stories for another day. Stories of immense joy, great anxiety, aching love and heartbreak, celebrations and sacrifices, battles lost and won.

The other day I was talking to my friend after yoga class. She said, this is not the life I dreamed for myself thirty years ago. In the classroom mirror my own thirty years flashed back at me in my reflection, laughing all the way to my bones.

By my reckoning but not God’s, according to my patriarchal history, I might have two years or more than forty years left on this earth.

Maybe forty years to dream, create and love.

Time has proved that if I can imagine it, I can build it. Reckon I can fix or fashion most anything with my hands. I can build a house that will last for decades, paintings that will last for centuries. I can claim these things as my own.

Living the truth taught me to value what is beyond my imaginative powers to build. The house was built on a solid foundation. The marriage was built on less substantial things and fell after twenty-six years. My art still remains.

That simple act of setting up an easel long ago, led me far beyond the walls of that house. Painting has taken me on some amazing journeys, opening the doors and hearts of so many wonderful people. Painting has drawn love into my life.

Maybe my painting Our Song, is for you and your beloved, maybe it celebrates our song of humanity, or a memory. Maybe it is only a dream. I know it was born out of love for all I have lived, all I have loved.

Our Song is a tribute of gratitude to each and everyone of you who have touched my life with meaning and love.

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another. Thomas Merton

If we have met or connected across other channels, been friends forever or only a few hours, like Elton sings in this video, “how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” My painting, Our Song, is your song.

Update: The painting, Our Song, is sold.

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