“Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc.
especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.”
In the summer of 2010, I commissioned a small piece of art for my living room, from Oregon potter Mark Heimann.
It was a pottery lantern inscribed with the Japanese kanji for “Perseverance.”
I HAD NO IDEA HOW MEANINGFUL
THIS OBJECT WOULD BECOME
Life was good. I grew up in Anaheim, California, where I watched the Disneyland fireworks before bed. I was always playing or making things. I played football in the neighbor’s yard, shot hoops in our driveway, skateboarded with my brother and continued playing lots of sports throughout high school. I made my family’s Halloween costumes, drew pictures, and built a small wooden boat in the shed.
After studying illustration and bio-medical illustration at California State Long Beach, I married Lad Salness, a high school teacher and coach, in 1986. Together, we coached men’s football and volleyball.
When it came time to have kids, I put my artwork away and focused on being a mother of four.
I stayed very active, but my creative life was relegated to homeschooling activities and church events.
One day, a friend asked me to paint some murals in her home.
I started thinking like an artist again.
I started being an artist again.
I’d walk through the farmers market and snap pictures of moments and scenes I wanted to capture on
canvas. I stared at the landscape out my window and drew the values I saw. My kids scolded me for
photographing everything (scenery, landscape, building) but them!
In the fall of 2010, I put the kids into “real” school. After so many years of homeschooling, I finally
had a little time for myself and building my art business.
ONE BEAUTIFUL MORNING THAT OCTOBER,
I HAD A STROKE
About a month in the hospital and rehab, I came home in a wheelchair to relearn how to do everything.
My right side was paralyzed. I couldn’t form words or remember them. I didn’t know how to spell “the.”
Some days were incredibly hard.
Then the lantern, which I’d forgotten about, arrived in the mail.
I worked out every morning. I met with a speech therapist and physical therapist. I called on my past experience
as an athlete and a coach. I worked just like I had coached the freshman football players:
work hard, consistent and persistent.
I discovered perseverance in myself that I never knew I had.
I kept asking questions:
What works? What doesn’t? How do I improve? If I can’t move that, could I move this? What are reasonable goals?
Today, I exercise and work in my studio every day.
I thank God for the ability to move my body – and the ability to create.
I love it all: Being alone and listening to music and audiobooks and working on paintings. Bringing people together and teaching classes. Talking to people about the kind of artwork they desire and the vision they have for commissions.
Getting here took faith, a strong vision, and so much support from my husband and kids, my family, and my friends.
GETTING HERE TOOK