My friend Chris Loe lost his courageous battle with cancer on January 14, 2013. I attended his memorial service and since that time have remained friends with his widow and his sister.
Both of these ladies are truly wonderful people, which makes perfect sense; Chris was a warm, generous, kind, and thoughtful man - of course his sister and wife would also be like him.
A few months ago, about a week apart from one-another, both Chris's wife and his sister contacted me (separately) about commissioning a portrait of Chris for the other.
Chris's sister, who had a very difficult year between 2012-2013 - lost both her father and her brother to Leukemia. Chris's wife asked if I could do a portrait of his sister with Chris and their father.
His sister asked for me to do a family portrait for her sister-in-law.
I worked with both, without the other knowing, coordinated shipping to Nevada and Minnesota, and even planned the portraits so they'd be the same size, etc...
I refused payment for both portraits. Chris was a dear friend. To honor him and our friendship, it was beyond consideration - I couldn't accept anything for them.
For me, this is an amazing Christmas gift. I just got word from them both, at how shocked, thrilled, and overjoyed they both are to have such a special gift from one-another.
As artists we often think only about what our art means to us. What we were inspired by, or what we were feeling when we created it. The gift in this for me is being about to step outside of my own narrow view and see that I created something - a couple of illustrations - graphite on thick card-stock - that has brought happiness and joy, warm memories and a new beautiful sharing of love, to others.
It is a humbling experience. A wonderfully, amazing, beautifully humbling experience.