As a child, my imagination took me to places I could only dream of going. Growing up down the street from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) provided an ironic metaphor—art was present but just out of reach. I settled for writing poetry and imagining the life of a painter–one saturated with color, happiness and freedom. In practice, school, work, marriage, family and all the associated responsibilities necessitated that I push my dreams into a small, forgotten corner of my being. It felt as if I were sitting on the shelf of life, like a coloring book unopened, with pages silently waiting to be filled with riotous color.
In 1984, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis; by 1994, I was completely disabled. In 1999, after sleeping, eating and watching TV for five years, I finally had enough strength to pick up a paint brush. I found that art was one of the few things I could do that I found solace in. Because of health constraints, during this period, I was frequently only able to paint in five-minute time blocks; at other times, I was able to paint for days and weeks. But sometimes, I was unable to work on my art for years.
My process has been slow, painful and non-linear. In 2008, with the help of a new doctor, I was correctly diagnosed with a severe gluten allergy, not MS. With time, a gluten-free diet and healing, art has become a more and more significant and central source of my physical, mental, artistic and spiritual strength.
As I got in touch with my inner voice, I realized that I had to bring large, bold colors into my life. My first project was major—I turned my newly-acquired, previously-forsaken Victorian house in into a classic “Painted Lady”–one of those showy peacocks of housing architecture. On the inside, I have created an equally inspiring, exciting gallery of style. I have managed to meld the public and the private aspects of my environment while honoring my inner muse. My work has been recognized by the Boston Globe; WCVB-TV’s Chronicle; Mumbai, India’s Inside Outside Magazine; and Paris, France’s Tenoua Magazine.
I feel spiritually linked and fed by my “Painted Lady.” My first-hand experience with suffering and illness and my subsequent journey into a place of healing have given me a distinct perspective; having had an intimate knowledge of the alternative, I can now truly appreciate and embrace my life, feel joy and know peace. I come to my art from this healed perspective.
2010 marked a turning point in my career as a painter, and the momentum has carried me through 2011 to the present. That year began with realizing my dream of a lifetime, although it also meant more hard work than I ever imagined. I have grown even closer together with Larry, my husband of many years. We have had more than 800 people come through our home to visit my studio. I had my first solo exhibition (“Ann Salk Rosenberg’s Woman Of Words”) and I was elected to the Copley Society of Art. My work has been recognized by the Boston Globe; WCVB-TV’s Chronicle; Mumbai, India’s Inside Outside Magazine; and Paris, France’s Tenoua Magazine. My work has been accepted into the prestigious Paradise City Exhibitions in Northampton and Marlboro, Mass., and featured in Paradise City Magazine and Still Point Arts Magazine.
I feel happier, younger and more alive then ever. I thank heaven for all I have been blessed with. I look forward to all this journey has in store for me with excitement and fear, joy and worry. I believe my work has stories to tell and audiences for those stories.
If my own story were to have a moral it would be this: Do not be afraid to dream. Fight like hell and if you’re lucky, with the wind at your back, you can fly.