This may be rough, thinking that you have reached the end of it all. What you imagined would be your life hasn’t come to fruition yet and you’re starting to wonder if it ever will. Moving through life, both high and lows will find their way to you. But just when you feel yourself sinking to your lowest, seeing the blundering weight of the world pulling you down, an angelic lifeguard makes it way to your mental rescue. Even in your turmoil and clear need for help, you resist at first, as the heaviness of your feelings has turned you so cold that the warmth of this hand has become unrecognizable. Lost in the depth of depression, you’ve been convinced that you must wade through the darkness alone. Unbelievable as it may seem at times, that simply isn’t true. Without knowing or direct intention we may become or take on that lifeguard role, for ourselves or better yet for one another as we slowly tug away, back to the surface. One avid swimmer that has brought reassurance to this world and thankfully to me, is Kansas City, Missouri Painter, Taylar Sanders.
October 26th, 2019-
Yes, we have made our way back to the reunion weekend. It is the day after my father’s birthday and what couldn’t be a more beautiful Saturday morning. Eager to get the day started, I’m up early gathering last minute preparations for part 2 of my family gathering. Although a celebration was to be had, many emotions began to arise in the moments leading up to the morning’s scheduled event. As much as I had looked forward to bringing my family together again to celebrate my father’s life and legacy, remembering that there would never be a time with him in attendance still stung and with joy came great pain, once again. Like many of my darkest days, a snowball of negativity and other unsettling feelings began to rain down on my thoughts, drowning me at the bottom of my despair. Thankfully, noted Painter, Taylar Sanders, pulled me back to safety with her warm spirit and enthusiasm as she facilitated this intimate paint party for me and my family.
As I arrived to the event space, Vivid Events KC, I found that Taylar had gotten there early and had already started her process of setting up the room with the necessary materials. Included in the package, she provided table coverings, easels, paint, canvases, cleaning supplies, and multiple brushes of different sizes that were specific for our painting. Also, there were decorative fall leaves of various colors, personally cut and placed throughout the tables for an additional touch to the event theme. Although this was Taylar’s second paint party that she facilitated, she was meticulous with intention in each and every detail she added. Once everyone arrived, her positive attitude and approach led us in painting a portrait of one of our favorites, family places. She spoke with patience and understanding, watching each of us reliving a moment of lightness that we hadn’t even known had gone missing.
When I interviewed Taylar a few weeks prior to the event, I knew then the weight that her art carried. “Before I found art, I only saw things I didn’t like. Painting changed that for me”, she stated. She opened up about how a few years ago, like many of us, she found herself in a negative/stressful space and it was then that she began looking for an outlet. She started with a portriat painting of an artist most influential to her, FKA Twigs, which led to many other great original pieces where her imagination, love and life experiences come together harmoniously. Of course there was much pride conveyed when she spoke about her work but through her actions and pieces, I saw what I needed then and now; hope. A reassurance that those challenging days would lead to a reward that would be personal to me but could also become a ladder to those that followed.
That hopeful energy came rushing in to the event that day, trailing behind her like an invisible cape. Step-by-step, she walked us through the brush strokes, textures and vivid colors to recreate a piece of Wyandotte County Lake. She helped us capture all the wonderful moments we spent with my father, remembering all the laughter peaking through the bushes and words of encouragement he left along the water. It gave us back a stillness of time, when those moments felt like they would never end. Incredibly, Taylar taught us to reach within ourselves to pour out our pent up love and grief in a way that healed far more than it hurt. To not just visually see the wisdom it shared but to be able to come together to create it for ourselves was profound and a true testimony to Taylar’s miraculous talent.
As life continues to roll on, this self-motivated visionary strives to bring a powerful sense of reflection with each piece or project she touches. Undoubtedly, her art will also continue to shape and positively shift the lives of the Black Kansas City community. It’s wonderful to know that through those difficult times we may endure as a city, that there is an artist out there, finding balance by bringing light and hope when we need it the most. Thank you Taylar Sanders for giving us back the rich textures of life in this beautiful way.
Written by Michelle Hill
Hope you enjoyed this series of talented Kansas City artists! Join us next week for our release of exclusive Black Sunflower merchandise.