Painting from the heart

by cheri block sabraw

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Linda Leinen, a wonderful writer and photographer whose blog I have followed for a number of years, lost her feline companion, Dixie Rose, last year.  I asked her for an interesting photo as my intention was to paint a small portrait of Dixie for Linda. The photo she sent did not disappoint. You can see it on the left of these two images.

As I painted away, trying to capture the whim and eyes of a gorgeous calico, someone else kept kneading at my soul, a person who has lived a challenging life and spent the last years addicted to opioids, the result of pain-killers given to him after a back surgery.

I learned that he had gone cold turkey and is now opioid free.

And yet, he has spent the last years alone in a very small space with his cat, who served as company during the long wet gloomy winters of Oregon.

But his luck changed.

His former landlord came over to see him and offered him a larger apartment.

A breath of life! A change for an aching back and sagging spirit. A bath tub even!

To decorate!

When I learned these things, the painting switched directions–from Texas to Oregon–and now hangs in his apartment, along with other items he has found at antique and thrift stores. The painting, titled Dixie Rose, arrived on Christmas eve.

As I knew she would be, Linda was more than gracious as old souls often are.

I find the act of painting for others with no expectation of a sale, the most satisfying hobby I’ve had in years.

Not that I don’t enjoy selling a painting, but giving is the best.

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