Posted by Francesca Gagliano on Sunday, February 5, 2017
This painting I have been working on most recently and only just today (February 5, 2017) finished is about moving on by accepting what is and carrying it with you. Through this acceptance comes the growth that we resist in the beginning but ultimately come to crave. The piece was commissioned by a woman named Dana who lost her fiance one year ago and who had lost her father as a young woman of 21. She had originally wanted a tattoo to commemorate them- two birds, a cardinal and a bluejay-carrying a message that read, "Some Things in Life Cannot be Fixed. They can Only be Carried."
Dana had gone to a tattoo artist and described a horizontal image but he didn't listen well and drew the image vertically. Then Dana asked a friend - or a friend of a friend and he never got back to her. After I gave Dana the painting she told me that this friend of a friend had returned her call recently to apologize for taking so long.
Some might see these initial connections with the other artists as missed opportunities that ultimately became mine. I believe in fortuity and believe that I was always meant to create it because the painting is not just for her, but for two other grieving families also.
During its making, someone who I've known since middle school lost his nine-month-old daughter. One day there was a crowd funding site asking for help to pay medical bills and the next, a message announcing their loss. Their loss of their beautiful daughter. Their daughter was a star child who I never met but loved from afar through social media photos. She was light-filled - This peanut with bright blonde hair, happy, happy eyes and a smile that melted everyone, anywhere, every time. She was a healer and her passing profoundly affected me--and the making of this work. When I thought the piece was finished, it took days more to complete and even then, I stayed with it for a week--or two after, because I loved it and had embraced it completely. I painted most of it with tears. This painting is also for you, Penny, and your parents.
One of my mom's dearest friends was passing away with cancer during the time of the making of this piece. My mom's friend's name was Karen--and my mom loved Karen like a sister. I love Karen for who she was and who I believe her spirit to be--but my love for her grew from my gratitude for her friendship with my mom--and my Dad. Karen's husband, Joey, is one of my Dad's greatest friends. Karen was light-filled and a joy-bringer. When Karen entered a room most people breathed a sigh of relief knowing that now the party was made because Karen was there to bring her joyful energy that inspired and energized everyone. Karen inspired others to be true to themselves--because Karen loved people--and she loved my mother and they were joyful and full of laughter when together. So the creation of this painting is also for Karen's family and for dear Karen, who passed shortly after its making.
The original is an 8x10" watercolor and ink on heavyweight watercolor paper.
Tags: watercolor paint illustration artwork art drawing grief grieving renewal birds light sky clouds cardinal bluejay flying