My Mentor: Ralph E. Grimes

My Mentor: Ralph E. Grimes

What does one do with a failed artist?  Tell him to go off and be a bookkeeper, a chef, or to go “some place where he’s more needed” so he can be “useful” in life?  To just “forget about it” because the artist “wasn’t good enough”?  Or, worse, the artist wasn’t able to take criticism, so he shouldn’t be an artist.

A mentor using the validate the rightness method.Ralph didn’t do any of the above.  Instead he had a way of pulling out the talent in an individual.  I believe it’s an art form and gift in itself.

Ralph and I wound up being friends because of working at the same place and having the same habits: arriving early, drinking coffee and reading.  After a few months of enjoying the morning routine, I had to move back to Texas.  We kept up a penpal relationship after that.

In one of the letters, Ralph sent along a poem that he wrote.  It was extremely well written!  So in my return letter, I acknowledged him profusely and also admitted that I was a closet poet.  To which he responded, send me one.

We continued for some time with poems back and forth.  He was very good!  One day I sent along a “doodle” because I thought he’d like it.  He did!  He hung it up in his office, which was a very busy place.  Then he wrote to me.  The letter was very memorable because he wrote about how I probably wouldn’t have listened too much to his response, so he was sending me the responses of others.

One for one, people saw my drawing from afar, walked up close to look at it, moved back a little to look at it some more and did this a couple times – all the while with a smile on their faces.

mentor quote - anonymousSo, there I sat reading that letter over and again.  Incredulous!  I had been a failed artist. I had stopped creating as an artist and a writer because of invalidation, bad advice, discouragement and criticism.  I had put away my hopes and dreams in this area.  But there I was, rekindled as an artist.

Validation and encouragement work.  An artist creates and improves because of it.  This is what Ralph did!  I’m totally grateful for such an amazing friend.  It impinged so much upon me, that I have helped others to start creating again.

Ralph E. Grimes passed away in 2006 but his legacy lives on with the number of artists mentoring with the Validate the Rightness Method.




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