"I will teach your hands to do what your brain cannot."
These were the words spoken to Linda by Master Artist, Valentin Okorokov. Okorokov, whose art is considered a national treasure in Russia and whose work has appeared in more than 38 worldwide exhibitions, took Linda under his wing after an accident changed the course of her life forever.
On July 7, 1996, Linda was struck by a preoccupied teenager who blew through a red light, triggering what is known as ‘Involuntary Reinvention’. Gone was the old Linda, leaving behind a blank slate. As a result of her injury, Linda battles both short and long-term memory loss and imbalance, her hands sometimes shake, her eyes droop, her head bobs and she sometimes stutters or slurs her words. However, with very specialized medication, careful environmental controls, and by managing the amount of stimulus she receives each day, Linda is able to pursue her passion for sculpting. Her unique situation has enabled her to capture the spirit of her subjects with a heartfelt vitality and skill and has made her a contemplative sculptor.
For 18 long months, a rehabilitation center attempted to piece Linda’s broken mind back together using cognitive therapy. However, her brain would never be the same. And then, Valentin Okorokov came into the picture. He showed her how to use her hands to channel her emotions directly into the clay, bypassing the encumbrances of her brain, and turning her limitations into blessings. Valentin provided Linda with a freedom to create rather than being imprisoned by limitations. She was, in many ways, set free by them.
Nearly two decades later, she has matured technically and artistically moving adeptly between subjects wild and domestic, including keen-eyed hawks/eagles, pheasants, horses and so much more.
And yet her difficult journey is far from over. The hard days have not passed. They're just more endurable. Her art is the oasis she visits, where things are good and where she is closest to God. Linda’s story is about turning tragedy into redemption, sadness into happiness, bitterness into thankfulness and thoughts of suicide into tender support for others. For a grueling year and a half, when neither doctors nor nurses could put her back on the path toward healing, it was her hands and a Master Artist who finally did.
Linda’s beautiful sculpting studio is located on several acres of nature’s hay ground just outside of Dickinson, North Dakota. Figurative and wildlife bronze sculpting is found at this gallery on the prairie. Appointments and commissions are gladly accepted. All of Linda's works are copyrighted and have limited editions.
A Special Note
Art can inspire or provoke feelings words cannot. My prayer has been and continues to be, that my gift of sculpting will inspire and gratify emotions or conjure up nostalgia to all that purchase or gaze upon them.