Tuesday, January 17

Dolly Parton Inspires A Painting

Two years ago Dolly Parton did me a huge favor.  She doesn't know it yet, but I'm so grateful for her kindness that I painted a portrait of her and will give the painting to Dolly (via a mutual friend) later this month.

This is a true story inspired by her and the people she changed through her incredible heart.

In 2004 I met a man who would change my life forever.  This man's name was Alex.  He was six feet tall, 31 years old and had brain damage caused by a car accident when he was only a senior in high school.

Nearly everyday for two years I went to his home and spent time with him and his family.  Every morning we went to the mall and walked for exercise, then we would have a snack, go home and have lunch, watch TV, take a nap and play games til the sun went down.  This routine happened everyday and it wasn't long before Alex and I became best friends.

Alex loved Dolly Parton.  He talked about her every day for as long as I've known him. Even though his accident took away many of the abilities we all take for granted, it never took away his ability to love.  He brought joy to everyone around him and I've never stopped thinking about how our relationship changed my life.

So every birthday, every Christmas and every Valentines Day I send Alex a gift.  It just so happened when his birthday was coming up two years ago, I was introduced to Dolly's personal artist.

I knew it was a stretch, but I had to try.  I asked her to get me an autographed picture from Dolly to Alex wishing him a Happy Birthday. Then about a month later she brought me a packet including a personalized autographed picture (below), with CDs and all kinds of other merchandise.  I knew at that moment God had answered my prayers.

Sending Alex such an incredible gift was one of my proudest moments and is why I felt so inspired to paint Dolly a portrait.  I know it isn't much, but when I have a chance to share with someone how they have touched my life, I take it!

Sometimes people never know how they affect other's lives, but if we all just shared our stories to lift up the people that mean the most to us, then what more could you ask for?

In my artist statement it says, "My pieces reflect my own inner joy and my intention for my artwork is to cultivate joy in others."  That's what it's all about really and hopefully I've accomplished that one more time.

Dolly, 16 x 20, Mixed Media

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