I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to my Dad here on Father’s Day.
It is only in the past year that I realised that my Dad was my biggest fan when it came to my art. In the last year or two of high school, when I was deciding my path, I never felt supported in my desire to study fine arts. My Dad worked very hard in his life. Moving up in his career wasn’t easy and he spent most of his time at work day and night. He was very dedicated to his job. Not only was it important to provide for the present, he valued saving for the future. He had to do business with a lot financial institutions and therefore came to admire ‘businessmen types.’ Because of this AND being a parent, he probably felt concerned that his daughter wanted to persue a future in an uncertain thing like art. I felt this pressure. Of course I was uncertain too. That in part lead me to go the practical route… and not the path of my real passion.
When I think back though, I think he was just being a Dad. Fathers only want their children to succeed in life (which will attribute to happiness). That’s just how they think. I know this now. It’s not that he didn’t want me to be an artist, he just feared that I would struggle and be unhappy. Ultimately, he would have been proud of whatever path I chose as long as I worked hard and was happy.
In the last couple of years, he had shown an active interest in my art. I was still very unsure of how he felt until one day we were sitting in a pub and had this really heartfelt conversation about my art. He told me how talented he thought I was and how I would be crazy to waste it. It was a total shock to me. I never knew he felt that way. It made me really happy, but it also made me very sad. I felt like I had wasted so much time not doing MY work. Do you know what my Dad said to me? “You haven’t wasted any time, you’ve just been observing and researching.” That’s really stuck with me. That’s the kind of comfort that makes a man a father. This year he had surprised me with big canvases and various art supplies. When I was part of a group art show in Calgary this past March, his only regret was that he was on holidays in Hawaii and he would miss the show. That’s how I knew he truly meant what he said and that he was my biggest fan.
My Dad passed away April 28, 2013. I think about him every day and I miss him so much.