On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gifts from the dead

When our class returned for the spring semester our teacher had individually separated selections of art materials.  An elderly classmate had died some months earlier and her family requested that her many art supplies be divided and distributed among her arty friends. I was touched by this generous offer and accepted my allotment with sadness and appreciation.

Yesterday I was given a large carton full of watercolors, instruction books, brushes, pastels, colored pencils and miscellaneous art materials. These were given to me by the widow of a man I knew from church. We had drawing and an interest in art in common so, when it was time to dispose of his goods, his wife thought of me. Again, I am humbled and touched. It seems odd to squeeze a tube of paint knowing that his fingers held that same tube and also squeezed pigment onto a palette (which I also have).

I need to paint more, practice harder, take more time to develop skill - if only to honor the dead and those who believed I could make good use of these supplies.


  1. An artist lived in the house I purchased. I have a few of the things he used, and I value them, in part, for the same reason and also because - they don't make 'em like that anymore. Enjoy the supplies - what a wonderful legacy!

    And you finished the picture! (I didn't know it was unfinished before.) Are those titmice too? The coloring is different. Very nice.

  2. Gifts indeed! Using their supplies will be such a humane way of honoring them and staying connected. I admire the thoughtfulness of the families who decided to share their loved ones' things this way.

  3. Nice story Barbara and nice painting. Are they Tufted Titmice?,don't have them in Ireland. Recently I was given an old set of watercolours from the posessions of an old lady who lived locally, it's like painting with history!

  4. It must be comforting to know that you are in the hearts of those that were left behind and were able to pass on the possessions of their loved ones to someone who could appreciate them. Your birds seem to be ready to flit off the page!

  5. Nice picture. They really seem to be coexisting.

    My 8th grade art teacher gave me a whole box of her craft supplies at the end of the school year. No one else was called back to get the stuff. Did she know I couldn't afford any supplies? I don't know but I had a wonderful summer using up her stuff.

  6. It IS a different experience using someone else's supplies and brings up so many memories of the deceased.

  7. My mother passed away this winter..and since I am the only one in the family that does art, I received all her art supplies. Yes, it is a bittersweet feeling...of everytime you look or touch those supplies, you are reminded of the good times you had with the person and that they are now gone. My mother passed away mid-Jan and I'm still trying to deal with it all. I tell you one thing, I have never spent so much time in my art room since she has been gone. I'm glad that her passing will represent a new shift in my art. Enjoy and cherish your supplies...and use them!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails