My drawing and painting life
This blogpost is for Shena – In Gratitude and Commemoration of a wonderful artist friend who died on August 15.
Gratitude post #1
I’ve completed the year of daily creating. I’ve been meaning to write some blogposts on what I learned, on gratitude and inspirational sources and such. I will kick off with writing a piece about an artist friend who died recently, Shena Meadowcroft.
Over the past months I’ve thought a lot about Shena. Shena battled cancer and lost – at least that’s the short story. But I wouldn’t do her justice to write just that. Shena was a very special person and her illness and the way she lived informed my art a lot over the past months. So this is a post in gratitude to what she brought to my world, what she brought to my art.
I know many people feel this way. In memory of her passing more than a hundred participants in Carla’s class ‘Y is for Yellow’ made a yellow flower (drawing or painting) – and Carla put them together in a slide show. Such a great way to remember her.
I offer up this piece for sale in memory of her. Find this piece in my Etsy shop.
I will be giving you the long story now.
I met Shena for the first time in one of the online classes taught by Carla Sonheim. I don’t even know which one. It must have been one of the year long classes, like Year of the Fairy Tale or Year of the Spark. Over the years we got to know each other a little better, bit by bit, especially talking about art, about life, about philosophy even.
Shena was a wonderful supportive person, who could be funny, philosophical ánd make beautiful art. Her art usually combined a feeling for nature and the natural world (she lived on the coast so coastal landscapes, seascapes were often on her art table) with a wonderful sense of simplicity and being in the moment.
She was about being in a community and supporting one another – both in her real-life community and in her online art classes we were both in. She didn’t just say so, but she acted on that belief.
She could be fierce if it came to her opinions on the world, on politics and the like. But on being with people, and especially with other artists (or people learning art), she would always be graceful in her responses to other people’s art.
We may not have had the same world view, but that didn’t matter. She was open-minded about having different world views (unless it leads to cruelness). A and She was all about open-mindedness and tolerance, creating a space for everyone in this big world, regardless of our differences. That was something we shared.
When it was clear that she was really ill and had a hard time paying the bills she started a fundraiser on a fundraising platform – Gofundme.
When she was getting worse, a few of my artist friends -and co-participants to art workshops online – talked about organizing our own fundraiser to support Shena’s fundraiser. Unfortunately Shena died before we could make it real. I didn’t make it in time I stopped short of doing it, got stuck on practicalities. I feel a little bad about that. But I also know she would understand that life gets in the way sometimes, she was gentle like that.
Nevertheless…. I wanted to do something after all.
I am going to make one final move. I am going to put some of the art I made over the past months in my Etsy shop. If any of it finds a buyer (before the posting in the shop runs out) I will donate proceeds to a cancer foundation in memory of her.
And I hope this message helps to move at least one person who knows what cancer can do to people’s lives will do something. If only to think about what you can do to fight cancer, in your own small way. This can be any way you like. It could be you stop smoking (or stop smoking near children) fine! It could be anything. You could donate to a cancer foundation, be it organizations helping cancer patients or doing research. Or buy some this piece. Anything.
I owe a debt of gratitude to her. She was very supportive for my effort to spend a year daily creating. We had conversations online and I felt we might have become real friends and would have shared a lot more. But it got stopped short.
Shena lost the battle with cancer in the end. She wrote often about that. I will not forget. Of course she had bad spells, pain and fear. Of course she felt more and more ill. She was clear about that.
Until the end she remained true to her opinions and when she could she would make art to help her be happy, or help her to stay sane in amidst a lot of emotional turmoil. Such a great example of how to live life.
Many of us read her blogposts on her illness and her posts on facebook. She was clear about what was coming. She saw doctors, got treatment until there was no more treatment to save her, only to prolong her suffering. She was brave in accepting what was coming. (She did her utmost to eat healthy food and stay healthy for as long as she could.) Of course she was afraid, very afraid, some time. She told her story – about the good and the bad of her illness, of her life – so beautifully, so true until the end when she wrote about having to leave her life partner, having to leave him behind.
For being able to write her story so bravely and honestly, I salute her. For her passion for doing art and doing it until the end, I salute her. I know it gave her peace and pleasure often. I will probably think of her often when I do art, especially when I try to do my art in a simple way. Shena was a master of simplicity in art. I love having some of it in my home.
I was thinking about her and Tony a lot when doing my 100 square paintings. Even if these 100 paintings are no use to anyone, at least I found a way to impart more meaning to my art. That I also have Shena to thank for. Through making art I found a way to empathize, think about how she was doing and ‘give it a place’, in my life in my heart. For me those pieces are a lot more meaningful (even if no one else can see it, I know it).
Thanks my friend!
PS This will be my posting for day 16 of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.
This is how Shena described herself on her blog.
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