Sunday, September 27, 2009

David Van Gorder--Artist





I met David Van Gorder yesterday. He was twenty-two years old when a construction accident paralyzed him leaving him without the use of his arms and legs. A determined young man studied until he received his doctorate in clinical psychology. He taught and established a respected clinical Psychotherapy practice.

In 1998 David began painting and drawing. David uses special tools that adapt to his arm and shoulder movements.

My friend Wendy talks about David all the time and when we decided to hold an art show to raise funds for Hope 4 Women she asked David to donate a piece of his art.

We went to his studio and I found myself in awe of David. Not because he’s in a wheelchair and is an incredible artist. Not because he has overcome many adversities to become a successful psychotherapist and motivational speaker. I saw his heart. I heard his quiet laughter. There was no self-centered arrogance--he was at ease with himself and I immediately felt at home with him.

In fact I was so drawn to him I didn’t realize I was shadowing him until he stopped and asked if I wanted to sit down.
I said, “No thanks. I’m just following you around.”
He pointed and said, “Okay. I’m going over there next.”

A young girl around eight or nine years old bounced into the studio. “Where’s David?” were the first words out of her mouth. When she saw him she ran to him, hugged him and talked animatedly with him. I thought, she sees his heart.

My husband Robert and I were so honored to meet David and when he presented his beautiful impressionistic painting of St Francis of Assisi to Hope 4 Women International I asked, “Why are you donating to Hope 4 Women?”

“Because Wendy told me too!”

I said, “We get a lot of funding that way.”

“Coercion?”

“Yes.”

See more of David's work click on the title of this article--it will take you to his website.


2 comments:

Ralph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph said...

Thank you for blogging kind words about David; words that have been etched in my heart for years. You see, David was my doctor for a few years in the mid 90's. I was a Sergeant on the LAPD and was in treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought about by a police shooting. David was nothing less than inspiring. His practice was in Los Angeles at the time. I was sad to see him leave for Arizona and lost touch with him long ago. I was writing a paper tonight and thought to Google his name. I first found his artist's site and was deciding which piece to order when my girlfriend announced that she also wanted to look at his works in order to help me select our favorite piece. She is the one who found your blog with that wonderful picture of David. You guys are lucky to have him over there with you. I left Los Angeles ten years ago for Florida. In February 2010, I will be completing my course work in a Master's in Forensic Psychology program. I have managed to maintain a 4.0 and plan to continue on with my doctorate. The fact that I was able to accomplish this is largely in part due to the recovery which Dr. Dave so competently played a major part in. He looks great and sounds as happy as the man I knew many years ago. Merry Christmas guys.