When Kristie and I were first married one of my favorite professors gave us a print.

Machelle my Belle – Leon Parson

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.

Riley’s Sunset Beach Painted Ukulele – Bill Inman

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?

Happy Painting!