Recently, I asked on Facebook if fans would ask questions that we could answer; an anonymous source would like us to submit an interview of ourselves that may be published in a major magazine.
This question came up three times.
How did you come to paint your first painting? Who was it for?
The first painting was made on February 5, 2019 for my very best friend, Melanie. She called earlier that night with news her father had been diagnosed with cancer. This photo was taken by my 5-year-old that night.
I don't know about you but when someone I love it hurting, I am "all in" on my emotional response; we sat on the phone crying for the better part of an hour; not the cry where you sniffle; the cry that tears so heavy they fall from your eyes to the ground, too heavy to roll gracefully down the cheek; a cry that ironically grimaces the face like a smile, teeth clinched, gasping for air, banshees growling in distress. That's this call.
Afterwards, I picked up the only remaining canvas I had and I picked up my one-year-old, I held him, painting stripes of gold, beige. teal, brown; an elephant, cheerful and colorful, perfect for a 'pick me up'. I've painted for Melanie many times, over a dozen at least. But, this painting was different, my mind was in 'fight' mode asking myself 'what if?' What if this was my father, or my husband, or myself? The agony ripped through me as I dipped the brush into another color. Within a half-hour the painting was done and I called her over; 'I made something for you!" Five little words said right before someone hands you an instant moment of pure love. (this would be the first Warrior Moment'
When she arrived I handed her the painting, her eyebrows went up, a smile formed; like I handed her a baby. She knew it had been years since I could successfully paint anything. The effort, the energy, the focused love; she knew this was special and was made just for her smile; then she smiled that smile that showed me how my gift to her mattered. I have said many times 'this project was born from Melanie's smile that day' and it's so true.
I asked Facebook for prayers for Melanie and posted a photo of her painting. A woman named Vicky would lend her autistic son her phone, he would view this post. Vicky reached out to have a painting made for Cody butI had no material and we had no idea the logistics of getting the painting to her. I left the conversation at 'maybe after tax time' and took a shower. I would emerge from the shower with an idea, running to Joe, towel in my hair, "What if I paint for Warriors of their diagnosis, give the painting for free, and tell their story and find them support; we could call it "Canvassing the Cure". He said. "Do It"
I reached out to Vicky, donated the artwork, but Cody would have his own painting. I posted that night, at that moment, "How many Warriors of Cancer, Autism, or any other life-altering diagnosis, would like to have a free painting, including free shipping, and let me help you find more support. I would like to share your story, and show you how much of a Warrior you are"
12 people answered in the first hour (all mothers with Warrior Kids) and the rest, is history.
We do things we can't explain because we love people and will do anything to help them feel better. I paint. I've given my paintings away, as gifts, to people I work for, work with, and some for a good impression. I've never been able to answer 'how much do you want to sell me a painting for,nor have I ever had paintings made for sale; I made them all for the people who asked for them; custom-made, for a person who needed it. In my life-time, at last count, over 300 paintings in 15 years. This has been 'my gift' and 'my purpose' all rolled into one. But to spend myself in a 'cause' and then to create a non-profit around it; that;'s God.
Love, actually, that's what created the very first painting, to a woman I love like my sister, my mother, my child; she is everyone, and everything, love her so much.
Thank you for everything you do to help support the 220 Warriors nominated. We have 48 paintings to create of which 19 are ready to ship. Please donate if you can, please share if you cannot donate. We rely on your generosity to be able to ship and donations have ceased to exist; we cannot ship any paintings, at all. As we apply for loans and grants, we are reminded that other non-profits that are older than 3 weeks, might come first. Nothing happens unless us 'regular people; help each other out. We need your help; please consider the good it will do; we are in critical need of shipping and can have instant access to donations at www.thewarpaintproject.com/donate-here
Thank you so much for all your support; we give this gift together. Thank you.
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