We have a neighbor-couple who are artists: Maureen is a painter who is very talented at mosaics, too; Martin is a fantastic photographer. For example, one day in the summer of 2005, Martin took a group of candid photos of our kids. Katie and David were playing on the beach, when Martin and Maureen's dogs, Buddy and Louie, joined the kids. Here are a few of the shots that he took:
When Katie became sick, Maureen was deeply moved. She painted a very powerful piece that was hanging in a show for months (the show's title was "Mood Swings"), and it blew me away with its passion, grief, depth and ability to evoke emotion. There was a lot of response to the piece when it was in the show. Maureen offered the painting to us as a gift. That's right; I said a gift.
As a woman who majored in fine art in college, I know how much effort goes into a painting. I also know that it's not easy to make a living for some artists (it was impossible for me). So when a working artist creates a piece, it's important if she is able to sell it. Maureen could have sold any of these paintings, but she was offering this one to us as a present.
We were stunned and overwhelmed by the generosity of Maureen's generous offer. I also knew that the painting was so incredibly powerful in the depth of its expression of grief that I wouldn't be able to coexist with it. I did the best I could to gently and courteously convey my appreciation for her offer, and my compliments -- that the piece was so well done that it was too evocative of grief, for me.
Maureen was gracious and understanding. Then she offered us a different piece from the same show, and one that I love very much: it's called Celebration. These photos do not do it full justice at all, but they are the best I can do (there is more color saturation & differentiation in the real thing than you can see here).
Celebration is roughly 3 feet wide by 4 feet tall. I feel that it captures a bit of Katie's spirit and energy, her passion for life, her irrepressible confidence, joie de vivre and her spirit's movement. It is now hanging in the entry to our home.
Thank you, Maureen!