When Kristie and I were first married one of my favorite professors gave us a print.
This was our first art gift. We love the print – not just because it’s an amazing piece of art, but also because we care so much for the artist.
Soon after that one of my dearest friends saw how much fun Kristie and I were having as newlyweds and decided to tie the knot as well. He grew up in the shadow of the Grand Tetons and spoke dearly of them. It seemed like an obvious choice to paint them for him.
25 years later our daughter attended college where he teaches and took one of his classes. After class one cold winter day he warmed her heart when he invited her to his office and showed her the painting proudly displayed behind his desk.
If I saw that painting today and could get my palette near it, I would probably make some changes – that’s the nature of growing as artists (at least I hope my skills have improved). Fortunately, he doesn’t just love it because of the scene, or the quality, he loves it because it’s a symbol of our friendship.
My wish, if we didn’t need money to survive and continue painting every day, would be to give my art away to all those who love it, but can’t afford it. That’s the reason I have prints made occasionally – to allow everyone a chance to own some art that will lift them the way that Leon’s prints bring such joy to me.
I have a soft heart for a good cause. Just in the past month I have donated my time towards painting a glass ornament for a Christmas auction and a beautiful ukulele for a friend of my daughters’ who is getting married.
What a magnificent and humbling gift we’ve been given as artists – we can lift hearts, inspire, teach and bring joy to our brothers and sisters around the world. We have a type of permanence in a constantly shifting world – our artwork can continue to beautify the earth even when we’ve passed from this mortal existence.
Imagine that, we get to play and challenge ourselves with something as magnificent as painting, and wonderful people all around us smile and encourage us because they also love what we do and feel blessed by our work.
We may need to gently decline an invitation to give once in a while, but let’s express gratitude that someone values what we do and we get to be a part of something grand!
What’s one of your favorite experiences of sharing freely your artist’s gift with others?
I love this message Bill. I just lost my Mother, my best friend a few days ago and it has been hard to find reasons to smile. My Mother always taught us to give and give frequently no matter how big or how small the gift. I am new to your community and was caring for my Mom right after I joined so I haven’t seen much. I watched your rant video (the whole thing) which left a mark and genuine affection for you as an artist and as a person. This message is beautiful and I agree that we are very fortunate to be in a position to share our beauty with the world. I too, like my Mom, love good caused. I have been trying to think of who I can donate some paintings to. I will definitely be donating to the nurses on the hospital floor and I was also thinking of the local school and retirement home. These small gestures of kindness go a long way and can truly make a difference for someone.
Thank you for this message of kindness and for making me smile at a time when it seems impossible
I am so sorry for your Mother’s passing Chrissie. I am very close to my parents and the thought of losing them as they have increasing health issues is daunting – I talk to them every week and rely on their encouragement. You are in our prayers! That is the force that gives me hope when circumstances try to wrestle away my smile. I have great faith in our Father and His Son to do everything possible to bring us strength and hope – without interfering too much in our brief time of training here in mortality. I also believe we artists were inspired to paint and create so we could be instruments from our Father to bless others and lift them up – often in ways we would not anticipate. I trust that your sharing your gift of art with others will not only bless those you share it with, but it will help to keep you smiling, the way comments like yours do for me! Remember, we will be sending our faith and hope and prayers your way.
Thank you, Bill, for this message. I truly love being blessed with the ability to be an artist and this has enriched my life so much through the people I have met and art groups I have joined. When people at my church discovered I was an artist, they asked me if I would be willing to paint the coffee mugs that are presented to new members of our congregation upon joining. This is certainly a different type of painting but I saw it as a way to give back and now have been personalizing mugs for many years and the new members are always delighted with them.
What a fantastic way to share your gift of art with others Joanne! I don’t believe in higher and lower art efforts – whether painting a mug, an ornament, a saw or the Sistine Chapel, Heavenly Father just wants us to share what He has blessed us with to the best of our ability. He will guide us and give us the opportunities to touch others’s lives as long as we don’t let pride cloud our vision. I’m happy to hear you are blessing lives with your gift.
Beautifully said and it makes my life so much richer to be able to of myself. Thank you for sharing this thought. Time now to go paint my gift!
Correction to above to” give of myself”
Thank you Mary, I am overjoyed to hear you love to share your gift with others as well!
You have such a giving heart , that was one thing that drew me to your sight . You can tell you love the Lord and I know He loves you!! i’ve taken this course without having the time to use my artistic ability, If I have any. My last painting I did is displayed in my Church. I prayed the whole time I was working on it that it would be a blessing to anyone that saw it. I get a blessing when I look at it even though I see so many things I’d like to change. I’m 77 years old and I’m enjoying hearing about your wonderful career. Your paintings are inspirational, I’m sure you pray over your work. It show’s. The beauty of our Heavenly Father’s masterpieces!! I’m learning from you even though I haven’t put paint to canvas . I hope to start working on January’s assignment and try to display something!! Thank you again for helping us!!
Wow, Ruth, I’m excited to hear you will be picking up a brush soon! Each time I enter my studio, the first thing I do is kneel in prayer so that my efforts will be more than my own. I know Heavenly Father will sustain you as well…
I am a photographer and one year this young photographer saw one of my images and I overheard her say how much she loved it. I printed another and gave it to her, she loved it. We weren’t friends I just felt the need to to it. You never know what is going on in someone’s life. I hope this made a difference somehow….. plant a seed of God’s love❤.
That is awesome Nancy! Sounds like inspiration through and through…isn’t it wonderful how much joy we receive when we follow those promptings.
Some years ago when I started painting, my television director at First Baptist Church, Memphis, TN wanted me to paint his wife’s childhood home as his gift to her. I was glad to do so without charge, but when he gave me the photo, it was a run-down, shotgun house, white clapboard. A tree with a swing, and a cotton field alongside. I tried, but the effort was terrible. A friend of mine taught art, and she said, “remember, you’re not painting the house in the photo, but the house she remembers! Use a perspective of looking up toward the house, and add a bit something like naples yellow light to your white for the outside of the house.” I did both, and was shocked at the difference it made. That painting still hangs over their mantle in Knoxville, TN where they live now. You’re right; it’s not necessarily the professionalism of the painting, but the friendship behind the painting that makes the difference!
Heavenly Father brings us what we need, even if we go through the ringer first, like your friend who gave you the perfect suggestions to guide you along. One of our church’s Prophets, President Spencer W. Kimball, said “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other.” I believe that with all my heart, and that is one of the guiding themes for everything that I do. What a blessing to know the family cherishes your painting and your friendship!
I gave a watercolor of tulips to a friend at my church. She is a grief counselor at a local hospital and had been taken by it when she saw it in my rack a year ago. I half promised it to her if she would visit me in my home. She never asked a price but kept reminding me how much she liked it and her good intentions. I actually had two of them almost alike. On Christmas Day she was scheduled to lunch with a group of us but she was called in to work. I had the painting wrapped and with me at our Christmas morning service and gave it to her before she left to go to work. My thought is it wasn’t going anywhere in my rack and if someone deserving really liked piece, I would rather it be enjoyed.
That was very kind of you Dean and I believe your generosity will be more than rewarded. Usually our rewards have nothing to do with money – but then again, you can’t buy happiness or love with money, right! Is there anything better than that? Not in my mind…
Hi Bill and painter friends,
After I was finished treatment for Ovarian Cancer, I started taking painting lessons. I have been painting and taking lessons intermittently now for 10 years. Praise the Lord that I am well, Thank you Lord. I was cared for by many nurses, physicians, family etc. I had painted a Plein air painting of a small cove and island. I absolutely loved the painting. I so wanted to share my heart and soul with one of the physicians that had shared his heart and soul with me, whilst he cared for me. He was a great listener. I had the painting framed and gave it to him as a gift. My heart was filled knowing that I was giving him something special from me. He liked the painting and was thankful. I don’t know if he hung it anywhere and I haven’t seen him in years. I am thinking that if I went back now and saw the painting, that I likely would grimace and want to improve upon it. That is life though, we look back on things, and maybe wish we could change them. But I know for sure, that in that moment in time, that was the best of me, and I wanted him to have that as a gift.
The first week of November, I invited an elderly friend to lunch. When I arrived at her house to pick her up, she was wearing a sweater with bright red cardinals on it, so I told her that I had started painting a pair of cardinals a few days earlier. She said, “Oh, cardinals are my favorite!” After lunch, I showed her a photo of the in-progress painting. When she saw it, she started crying, and said, “My son!” I waited for her to regain her composure, then asked her to tell me about her son. Then she poured out the story of the death of her 3-day-old baby boy many decades ago, and of her great sorrow because she had never even gotten to hold him after giving birth. She had not been a believer in God at the time, but in her deep grief, she had cried to Him asking for assurance that her baby was in heaven. Almost immediately, a bright red cardinal showed up in her yard, and she received it as an answer to her prayer. Throughout the years whenever she experienced a feeling of sorrow and loss about her son, inevitably cardinals would show up and she would be comforted. She said, “Linda, the reason I’m wearing this sweater today is because I’ve been missing my baby boy, and and once again God has comforted me — with your cardinals!!” A week later, I was blessed to deliver a full size print of my cardinal painting to her. That I got to be a participant in what God did for this precious woman was an amazing, joyous experience!
What an amazing experience Linda and a privilege to be a part of something sacred like that! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Heavenly Father loves His children and watches over us – and usually answers our prayers by sending someone like you!
Easy to check out, easy to read…heck I put to leave
Thank you for these comments! Sometimes I want so badly to reach that place where my work truly moves and inspires people that I get discouraged. I’m just getting to that point where people sometimes say “It looks like a photograph.” I’m not even sure I’m to that point. But anyway, I’m going through your 6 week course and looking forward to new challenges! I’m 56 so I’m not too thrilled about how many years it could take!😂
Being an artist is not easy Gina because we put so much of ourselves into our work. Keep going! Yes, it generally takes years to become what the world considers a ‘Master’, but there is so much more training from professional master artists today than 10, 20 or a 100 years ago that new painters are progressing at phenomenal rates. None of us creates something ‘magical’ every time, but as you study and paint regularly, it won’t take long before your artwork will reach out and bring great joy to someone’s heart. Trust your instincts and don’t get so discouraged that you give up – remember, the best artists I know all get discouraged at times.
I love the sentiments expressed in all these comments ! It is a blessing to be a member of this community. You are a huge inspiration to me Bill. You and your family are a lovely example of what being a family is all about . I am going to try and paint the paint together image . Thank you for the great blogs and encouragement always. You share your expertise and knowledge and so much more . Greatly appreciated ! My thoughts and prayers are with you for all your endeavors also for a full recovery for little Emery . May you go from strength to strength.