I was posting a few of my Sky Series watercolors on my Instagram feed when my sister sent me a message. Margaret asked if I would create an art print from a particular sun set using a quote from C. S. Lewis. She wanted to put the wall art in her husband’s room. This is the quote:
“Has this world been so kind that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
Grover, Margaret’s husband was in the late stage of ALS, a devastating disease that left him mentally alert and aware but incapable of all but limited movement that progressively diminished over time. Grover was about seven years into his progression when I received Margaret’s request.
I liked sending Grover cards made from my art work. Margaret would place the cards in Grover’s room where he could see them. As family member of someone with ALS there is a feeling of helplessness in not knowing what do or even say, especially when you live at a distance. My cards were a way of saying I remember you even though I am not there, I pray for you, and you are loved. So when Margaret asked for the art print, I was more than willing to fulfill her request.
Grover passed before I could send Margaret the art. It will reside on her living room wall. She is refreshing her home as she contemplates her “what’s next”, her new normal. I have new projects to send her way as they are completed. The new art will be accompanied with my prayers for a full new life beyond the sorrow.
The background for the quote is from The Sky Series. It is a project I am doing with my son, Sean. I noticed Sean’s photographs of skies on his Instagram feed about the time I decided to study landscape painting in detail.
When I teach watercolors I tell my students, “If you can’t paint a sky, you can’t paint a landscape. When you can capture the sky you are half way there in conquering a landscape. Practice, practice, practice skies until they flow naturally out of you.”
I decided to take my own advice and use Sean’s wonderful photos as the material that would feed that half of my study. Sean approved and I began.
Putting it all together.
With Margaret’s request came the decision to make it a project. I wanted to do what I did earlier this year with a request my sister Nancy had made last summer. I am donating to Ovarian Cancer with every sale of Nancy’s Shell. I want to repeat this idea in honor of Grover. I am donating a portion of the sales of my custom Sky Series Sayings to ALS research.
The decision to donate is an integral part of my vision for Ruthieonart, my little business. I want to support causes that mean something to me and the people I love. I want my art to be created with a purpose in mind. I am hoping that it will inspire others to do the same, to creatively support the people they love.