The Power of Art

Recently a friend’s husband died. She has waited a while for family to get organized before having his memorial service. His service will be this Friday. So what do you say when someone loses their spouse? I feel at a loss sometimes of finding the right words said in the right way that gives comfort.

My friend is nearly completely blind. She has macular degenerative eye disease. I thought maybe I could paint her husband’s portrait using texture so she could feel him on the canvas. I did some research and it turned out to be beyond my artist abilities. But I didn’t give up.

My friend has a very large projector that she can use to help her see just a little better. She can see some things from her side better then directly in front of her. So I painted her husband’s portrait thinking of colors that would help her see him better.

I surprised her yesterday with my gift. She had tears. She told us how hard this past week has been. She told us how lonely she felt. She has many friends around her but none of us can fill the void of the loss of her husband.

I sometimes get discouraged with my painting. I think I’m not that good and then I get a rush of joy when I see I’ve made someone truly happy. Art did that. Art can make a difference. Art has power to heal. I love that about art.

Remembering Gary

Painting the Barn

This is an old family picture. A friend of mine who is 79 said it was a photo of her in laws painting the family barn. Family projects are always a very involved endeavor.

I once helped paint a relative’s house. So many people showed up. Thanks should have been what I felt, but so many people without a leader doesn’t always give us the results we want.

Her house got painted and people got fed, but I felt a bit sad. Why sad? Sometimes people expect things to be done free. Sometimes people who do “good works” do it for the recognition and if they don’t get the “repeated” thanks. Well some get a little less humble.

Families are complicated. We should always help each other and when we feel unappreciated we should stop. We should stop, but then we should start again. We should not stop helping but sometimes we need to step back and catch our breath.

I believe in giving. I believe we give from the heart. I believe sometimes we just need to put our lives on pause and regroup. I believe in family and I also believe in following your heart. ❤️

Helen

Helen was born in 1939  in Schlesien, Germany. She was 14 years old when her family had escaped Germany and ended up in Watertown,Wisconsin. Her story I found fascinating. It is hard to imagine the life and death struggles her parents made in order to bring their family to a country where they didn’t even speak the language.

Everyone has a story; a beginning and a end. Not all of us crossed the great Atlantic to begin a new life, but we all have crossed distances to become who we are today.

As a child we had little choice but to follow our parents. Whether we wanted to move to a new city or start at a new school it really wasn’t up to us. We were children; we didn’t ask why.

When we became adults we are intoxicated by the freedom of our new found adulthood. We soon learn that each choice we made and distance we traveled didn’t always take us where we had expected. We are shaped by these experiences or lack of these experiences.

Some people are afraid to open the door to the possibilities of the unknown, paralyzed by a fear they can’t explain or understand. My mother often told me that she didn’t want me to be afraid of life like she was. She pushed me to be fearless. I think in the end she wished she hadn’t pushed quite so hard. 😜

Like Helen I’m still on an adventure. Helen has often told me that getting old isn’t for sissies. So I will grab hold of this next chapter of my life and squeeze out as much love and fun as I can. I don’t need to know what will happen next. Sometimes not knowing is half the fun.

Helen of Schlesien
I gave Helen a gift of her younger self. She’s still cute.