Every couple of days I like to peruse the Nextdoor app. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s simply an app where you can connect with others in your neighboorhood/town. It’s great for getting business recommendations like a last minute plumber or something, but I like to stay connected to see what kind of crime is being reported and what pets have gone missing so I can keep an eye out for them in my travels around town. But instead of a pet in need of rescue, this time someone posted looking for an artist to paint a statue to look like their dog. I love painting dogs, so I volunteered my services! It was a small statue that I knew wouldn’t take very long to finish, so I just charged enough to cover the cost of the paint supplies.
I met the man and his little pup when we exchanged the statue. The dog was only a year old and had the cutest little face! He said it’s his wife’s baby and he wanted to give her something that honored their adorable little girl. It was such a sweet gesture, I was happy to be a part of this!
For a long time, I drew portraits of children (human ones and furry ones). The part of drawing them that I love the most, is capturing that something special about the subject. One child I drew had a very specific bend in her ear lobe, I don’t know if it was a defect or just still growing in, but it was a unique feature to her. When I gave the drawing to her father, he noticed it right away and loved that I captured that on my own (they didn’t mention it when I started). It’s the little things like that, that capture the true essence of a person (or dog) in a portrait. With little miss Pearl, there wasn’t much to her. She was a beautiful, rich, monochromatic tone all through her fur, including her little nose. But as I painted the little white whiskers on her chin and her diamond white belly, I knew these were the markings that her mommy would notice and say, ‘that’s my Pearl!’ I happily painted away, excited at the thought of her reaction.
It was then that the money in this transaction really felt meaningless to me. I don’t make art to make a living, I have a day job to feed my family. My art job is to feed my soul. I love to see people happy. I love to make people happy! This got me thinking about the reason I started this blog, to find art’s purpose. Maybe the purpose of this gift has nothing to do with making money at all. Maybe it’s purpose is to simply bring joy to people. Surrounding ourselves with beauty, and tying that with something meaningful like a pet or your child, can only bring joy to your heart whenever you see it. On my worst days, all I have to do is look up from my computer and see the portrait of my two boys, and for a moment I’m with them. It lifts me enough to keep chugging through the day.
The day came to deliver the statue back to her owners. The mom was there to greet me and right away she noticed the white chin hairs, hoping I would capture her favorite little feature of miss Pearl. It was perfect! I don’t know anything about these people, but if looking at this statue of her precious Pearl brings a smile to her every day, then I have made a small difference in someone’s life. That is enough motivation for me to continue in this journey to finding arts purpose.