Experiencing a Loss

When someone asks me to do a commissioned painting and it is of a loved one that has passed I am touched. I feel a great responsibility with this request. I always do my very best with each painting I paint regardless if it is a commissioned piece or not. But a loved one is even more important that each detail of that person is captured. Earrings, rings, hair style all has to be perfect.

So I was asked to paint Bill’s wife who passed away 3 years ago. I could tell the pain and sadness was still very close to the surface of the new life he was trying to live.

The photo he showed me was of his wife at 82. She was a professional ice skater in her youth. At 82 she was gorgeous. Tall black boots, tight jeans and a fur coat. Yep I want to look just like her. In the photo they were in San Francisco and had just seen a Cirque du Soleil show. She is standing in front of the programs banner.

Yesterday I gave bill his painting.

“Living the Life”. Watercolor 11×14

Self Portrait

Have you ever painted your own portrait? That’s what my art friends and I asked each other a few weeks back. We all said no and agreed we would each give it a try.

Hardest thing was to find the right photo. The right photo hides all of your flaws. The flaws that I am told that only I see. I took a bunch of selfies which felt weird. I had to do a selfie as I quickly saw most of my photos of myself include my family or my friends. I rarely have a photo taken of just me. The photo that I painted from was taken in my basement. This is my art studio. It is also where my grandkids will ask me if “this is where the magic happens?” Yes this is where all the magic happens. ❤️

As I painted this selfie I see all of my hard earned wrinkles. Do I include the wrinkles or exercise artist discretion and omit or tone down the lines that seem to travel around my face. I laugh and told my husband I at least like my wonderful straight teeth. ( I got braces when I was in my 50’s. My mid-life crisis.)

It was a good exercise. I had to slow down and not over think the painting that I was about to paint. So all you artists who haven’t done a self portrait, grab your brush and paint that beautiful face you’re been looking at your entire life. It hopefully will bring some magic back into your heart as it did mine.

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.