Once upon a time, somewhere in the winter of 1980, maybe, my business partner and I were driving north up a gray Interstate 89 on our return home from Montpelier, Vermont from yet another all-important business meeting. A few years earlier I had invented the sports bra, the then-named “Jogbra,” and was creating what would become a multi-million dollar business. The day was gray. The road was black and icy.
My business partner was at the wheel of my cranky old Volkswagen beetle. She was going on and on about the meeting, our fledgling business, her concerns and expectations. Her intense energy filled the small space. I was getting claustrophobic. Suddenly, light from the early setting sun erupted from beneath the dark clouds heavy with the coming nights snow. Spectacular beams shot to earth, made the dingy road sparkle. Crimson and gold rays caught tree tops, transforming them into a glowing latticework of color and light, and reached across the snow-covered land to touch our gas-powered capsule of human intensity.
“Beauty break! Beauty break!” I cried, interrupting her tirade. “Look at the gorgeous light on those trees! Look at that sunset!” My partner glanced at it and smiled. Her shoulders visibly dropped. Her brow softened. In a few moments we were laughing together.
Beauty lifts us up.
Ten years later we sold that business, and I devoted some time to thinking deeply about what really mattered to me. Really.
What kept coming up was BEAUTY. True beauty.
What the hell did that mean?
I decided to focus on this question; how I could create, support, and be surrounded by beauty in my life. Before the sports bra entered my imagination and took over my life I had been a visual artist, and I felt as if one painting –– the business –– was finished and another was waiting to be born.
Why was the subject of beauty haunting me?