Under the dark canopy of a redwood forest, the light forces its way through and a sapling tree will grow. It’s habitual to look down at our feet, measuring the progress directly in front of us every day. Try looking up to see a bigger picture. You might just see that opportunity lies within your grasp.
I visited my friend and arist, Cheryl Moreno, this past Sunday at her studio. She was participating in the Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour for the first time. Cheryl has long been a friend of mine, almost twenty-five years, one of those friends whom one doesn’t need to see often to connect with easily at a deeper level. The connection is just there, always present.
We worked together at Apple Computer. She was a graphic artist and I was a marketing manager. It was never her true calling, nor was it mine. Thus an early bond was formed. Her own father was a former art director and well respected Monterey Peninsula artist and sculptor. Cheryl possesses a true artist’s soul, and with it, an artist’s conflicted path, immersing herself in playful illustrations and creations on the side, but never allowing herself to jump in whole hog until her daughter finished college.
She and her husband recently moved away from the tangles of Silicon Valley to a slower-paced beach town life — he surfs several afternoons a week after work, and together they found Cheryl a real studio where she now paints every day after working out of their living room for 20+ years. Artists can’t help but create. The deep urge to express and construct daily is as natural as breathing.
Cheryl’s work has grown before my eyes. She began with teeny tiny canvases. These have steadily grown in size, and Cheryl now speaks of creating even larger graphite works. Her earlier work was dark, complex, reflective of life’s losses and a struggle to emerge. This current body of work is fresh and light, experimental, curious and questioning.
After leaving Cheryl in her new studio, surrounded by a constant flow of art aficionados, I decided to drive home via the Old Santa Cruz Highway under a deep canopy of coastal redwoods, far from the frenzied fray of the more traveled highway route. Thinking upon the afternoon, I am reminded that a light always peeks through eventually. You simply have to keep going, be present and remain open.