THE BLOG
01/21/2015 05:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Just When You Believe It's Over, in Fact It Can Just Begin

At 73, art hit me like a piece of the Eiffel Tower. I was in a state of "philanthropic burn out" at the time, a phrase often used by unrelentingly working founders of a charitable organization. I decided that I needed the oxygen of a sabbatical, and went to Istanbul for two whole months.

The freedom from routine, the colors and exotic scents shifted something inside of me, at first imperceptibly, then with gathering force. When I returned, the sorrow of losing my teenage son that caused me to establish the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation (that helps single parents of terminally ill children in a financial crisis) had clearly changed.

After 16 years, I rejoiced over a lightness of spirit and energy. I was not yet sure what to do with. Then something happened as I was on a long, and tedious phone call. I was diverting myself by putting pretty objects together on my desk. After the conversation ended, I looked at this assemblage and remember thinking, "This is actually rather good." Within days, I was consumed with gluing and patching and collecting and drilling. I was soon fortunate to have gained the attention of a famous artist who has never had a student before, and I was honored and enriched with new technique.

Assemblage not only became a passion, but, lo and behold, a new way to produce revenue for the foundation. This occurred only a little over a year ago, and I can hardly describe the excitement I feel about having my first solo show as artist.

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The "The Curious Art of Valerie von Sobel" is exhibiting at Voila! Gallery in Los Angeles from 2-7 to 3-7. I hope you will judge my art kindly, and send me a wink of approval. I intend to let you know if it was a success.