one morning, artist robert shuttlesworth sent me a message that read: “i couldnt sleep last night… so i painted your picture. im calling it ‘danielle’s dream’. i hope you like it. i can’t explain what happened… but i was moved by your art and this is my reflection.” a few days later, the 18″ x 24″ original painting was kindly mailed to my door. overcome by such a gesture, his work and actions truly moved me. covered in shades of blue, japanese influences, floral patterns and musical dreams, it felt important for robb to be apart of music is art. recently, he contributed his own honest writing of a special song, moment and result, and im very thankful to share it.
a few years ago i found, the “painter song” on my norah jones’ cd. my mind was junked with six years of frustration, that became exponentially worsened by the obvious correlation between my efforts and the end result. i invested and committed my life in ever single way to try to keep a fossil afloat… and it failed so bad, people read about it in a newspaper. 6 days after hurricane katrina made landfall, i was there, living surrounded by people that lost everything as well. we shared some pretty honest times during those six months.
its amazing what a blessing loss is. the more stripped you become of everything in this virtual world, the closer you get to the truth. and then, reality. and then your true dreams become the gift of a beautiful travel guide and companion… replacing road signs that were washed away. everything that you knew and relied on to be true and stable, vanishes by the pulverizing aggression of a tidal wave. we shared very similar types of loss and grief. my perspective was as a captain and theirs was as a passenger on a doomed ship. we shared the same conclusion that our dreams must become our immediate goals. dreams become life… as important as what we eat today, not as a european vacation that will never happen.
i discovered that real dreams require effort beyond our current ability, its not a numbered ticket from a gas station that you clutch believing in vain that it will hit you one day with its supposed blessing because you deserved it or somehow earned it because of a karmic ruling of justice in your favor. even if that scenario was normal, which it has with me… in time you realize that nepotism is a generational curse and not a gift. so, norah jones dreams about painting and i wish i could sing. but i am an artist, i’ve always been one. i just had to have enough stone chiseled off of me, so that i could become my dream.
“if i were a painter…
and could paint a memory…
i’d climb inside the swirling skies
to be with you.”
i am working daily and growing into my dream. its the hardest work i’ve ever done, and the easiest. its the only thing that carries me, motivates me and comforts me. painting is no longer a secret obsession, its my entire journey and destiny. music is art and it fuels my soul. now i’m happier than i’ve ever been… traveling a treacherous road confidently, happily and full of love for everyone, including that nasty neighbor that i used to live next door to. i bless all of you.
words, art & photography by robert shuttlesworth