18 February 2008

In Memory

I painted this in memory of two significant people in my life. Anyone who realizes how healing and therapeutic art can be can understand the feeling I had in painting it, the memories that flood you, the tears and the smiles, the joy and the sadness that all goes into it. What may look like a frivolous design piece is really my heart at the time, and helped me heal. Now when I look at it, I smile in memory.

When I was a little girl, I was very much a "grandpa's girl." I went everywhere I could with him, did what he told me, walked next to him to "hold him up," and held his hand everywhere. He owned a tool and die shop, and even though that meant hard work, he always kept one hand soft just for me. My grandpa lived in Florida, and LOVED ocean fishing. Often, he would catch little seahorses in his line, and he always saved them for me. As a child, I had several little dry seahorses I adored.

When he died after a long bout with Alzheimer's, I found one of these seahorses in storage and all those wonderful memories come flooding back. To this day, I don't see one without thinking of him.

Oddly enough, I had a close friend die too young and too suddenly in a car accident a few years later. She was also an artist, and a beautiful person inside and out to everyone she knew. One of our common loves was seahorses, although at the time few knew it. After she passed, everyone learned of her love and then connected the image with her. When I painted this, it was the week she died, in memory. I will never forget you, Dre.

In Memory, 16x20 oil on canvas

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