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. ❤️

Lily

I saw a picture of a young beautiful girl with the biggest smile. At first I don’t notice the missing button, the smudges of dirt or even her surroundings. Then I looked a little closer.

The man’s belt no longer fits, the pants have a big hole and a big patch. This family is poor. He’s not wearing pants with holes in them because it’s stylish. He didn’t buy those pants that way! He worked in those pants for a long, long time. Maybe the girl is his granddaughter and maybe they’re not related at all.

I see poverty and I see joy in this picture. Her smile is pure; not fake. The original photo was taken back in the 40’s. I don’t know the girl’s name so I’ve decided to call her Lily.

I like to think Lily went on to do great things. That she was surrounded by people who cared. Her parents gave her a solid foundation. Her teachers cultivated and encouraged her mind to love learning. I hope she met a man who respected her mind and her body. Whose love for her was real.

I will never know if any of this is true. Her reality may have been on where her next meal was going to be or how she could earn more money to help her family.

There are still a lot of ‘Lily’s” out there in the world. They need adults who care, who model behaviors that are healthy. In this rich country children should never go to bed hungry nor should they not receive the very best education we have to give.

We should not forget our children. They sit quietly at every table, in every chair listening and watching us. What are we teaching them?

“lily” – Acrylic on canvas 14”x18”