How you know you are on the right path…

The past few days since having found out there is an offer on my books have been a whirlwind. I celebrated Thursday then went into mom/girl scout mode Friday. Ignoring a nagging pain in a tooth that had severely abscessed a few months back and needed a root canal,  I cooked chicken parmigiana, made a garden salad and made homemade cream puffs for 11 girl scouts. (Have I mentioned cooking is NOT my thing? Have I mentioned how charming my 12-year-old daughter was when she requested the menu?) Then I volunteered to help out with the meeting. It sounded like a good idea 2 weeks ago. Then the next morning I volunteered to help drive 3 girls to their food drive. Early. Then after dropping Sophie off at her dad’s house and came home I had to admit that something was very wrong with my tooth again. A trip to an emergency dentist and a prescription for antibiotics later, I finally got home. And slept and slept and slept.

Sunday night I was feeling better but a little bummed that I had not been able to start a pet portrait I really wanted to. I also had not been able to sit and reflect very much yet on the amazingness of my books being sold. And then tonite I received an email:

Michelle, you painted a portrait of our Cricket in early 2003-it was a Valentine’s Day gift for my husband (we were living in Atl at the time). He adopted Cricket when she was about 8 months old, in the fall of 1995 and he and I started dating in November of ’95. So, as long as there was an “us,” there was Cricket. Her health began to decline about a year ago and this weekend, we made the gut wrenching decision to have her euthanized. He and I held her today and cried together as she left this world. Cricket was 15 and we’ll celebrate our 11th anniversary this December.

I have always loved your portrait of Cricket. You captured her still-youngish spirit perfectly and it hangs in a special place in our house in Charleston. Thank you for putting your heart into the portraits you paint. Our painting of Cricket has gone from being something really cool to an absolute treasure.

Louise M.

PS-Cricket was a “lab-ish” mutt with a white star-shaped blaze on her chest. You painted her with a yellow and green striped background and it makes me happy that I can still see her portrait on your website. 🙂

And oh my goodness. I wept. And wept. I wept for the loss of a beloved pet. And I wept with such gratitude. How often do we find out that what we do makes such a difference? I have always loved the thought of my paintings being in people’s homes, being hung up, loved. I put so much of myself in every painting. I really do. I immediately knew Cricket. Cricket was one of the first commissions I had gotten – painted within my first year of painting pet portraits. That was such a wonderous year for me as an artist – to be paid for my art, my vision. It was amazing. It was life changing. It made me know that ultimately sharing my art with people was what I wanted, needed to do with my life.

And I am doing that. I am making a difference in people’s lives. Even if it is just to make them smile as they pass by a painting as they go about their day. And that? Is a gift and something I will never, ever take for granted.

Thank you for your letter Louise. It means the world to me.  I offer my sincerest sympathies for the loss of your beloved, Cricket. How lucky she was to have been so very loved.

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