“Happiness has been my theme in all the works that I’ve done,” said the La Jollan known for her cheery-toned, pastel-hued paintings.
Though her artistic focus has changed (her 26 art galleries were all closed by 2010), Huss told the Torrey Pines Rotary Club on Oct. 31 she has no intention whatsoever of letting up at age 72.
“I’ve had a very interesting career so far, but I always feel like I’m still reaching forward,” she told Rotarians. “There are still many things I want to do, books I’d like to complete. There’s never enough time. I still have a zillion things to do.”
Introducing Huss, Rotarian Gordon Shurtleff detailed her range of artistic design, from commercial products to ceramics and from clothing to wallpaper, greeting cards for Hallmark and illustrated children’s books, plus syndication for newspapers.
“Her fine-art paintings hang in homes from Hollywood to the White House,” Shurtleff said. “Sally’s fine art work ranges from bold abstracts to small landscapes in oil to her happy, inspirational thoughts.”
Huss started out telling service club members something few knew about her.
“I started my art career long after I had a tennis career,” said Huss, who competed in both singles and doubles in the ladies division at Wimbledon.
Huss said her marshal philosophy, pursuing everything with joy, was just as relevant for her on the court as it was on her canvas.
“I found that if I played happy … I was much more effective,” she said. “I found it didn’t matter to me what the score was. When it doesn’t matter, you can play very freely and you’re very dangerous on the court.”
Huss asked Rotarians to participate in an exercise, asking them to state their names and point to themselves.
Noting where they pointed — at the chest — Huss said, “That’s your spiritual heart center; that’s where happiness resides. It has a door on it and you have to keep that door open. That was my trick, to teach people how to keep their center door open all the time, no matter what.”
Much like an athlete living in the moment and reacting reflexively, Huss said, her art is instinctual, arising from within.
“I just grab a brush and start painting — that’s what I do,” she said, adding that now she’s getting around to picking up where she left off doing projects that have been put on the back burner.
“Over the years, I’ve done tons of children’s books, writing them and stuffing them in a drawer,” she said. “When we closed our last art gallery, I finally now have the time to do those books.”
Another thing Huss has been stockpiling is inspirational thoughts and sayings, which now number upward of 2,000 and appear in everything from newspaper strips to wall plaques.
Huss read two:
“Each day is a lifetime to be lived fully, joyfully and without regret,” and another inspired by a troublesome mother-in-law, “We are all the way we are, for a lot of reasons, and for all those reasons and more, we are worthy of being loved.”
Huss had some advice to offer Rotarians in parting.
“Focus on the happiness,” she said. “Worry less or not at all. Love each other. We’re all brothers and sisters.”
Shurtleff thanked her for sharing her inspiration.
“We’re happy because you’re here and you gave us a lot of happy thoughts,” he said, offering her a bottle of wine while adding, “We want to make you happy. Everything’s happy with wine.”
Torrey Pines Rotary Club is a wine club that meets Wednesdays at noon at Rock Bottom Brewery in La Jolla, 8980 Villa La Jolla Drive.
For more information visit www.torreypinesrotary.org.