I recently wrote an article titled 6 Misconceptions About “The Artist’s Life”  for EmptyEasel. In that article, I talked about some of the misconceptions I had about art and being an artist.

As a teenager and young adult, I had quite a few misconceptions. Some were major, some were trivial. Some were just plain funny.

At least they seem that way to me now.

The most significant of those mentioned in the article was the money part. Way back in the day, I thought I could make money at art and that that would be the most important result of all my artistic endeavors.

A lot of years have passed since then and I’m here to tell you that just isn’t so. There are things worth a whole lot more than mere money.

Faith.

Family.

Friends.

Fulfillment.

Worth More Than Money

Faithful pets fall into that category, as well.

I’ve painted a lot of posthumous portraits. Racehorses. Back yard horses. Pets.

The photo above shows the presentation of a portrait to the owner of one of those faithful canine companions. Katie, passed away after 13 years.

I don’t know what breed of dog Katie was, but I do know she was much loved by her people and by many of the other residents at Kansas Christian Home. The memorial held in her honor was very well attended.

Gene Newman is a former Marine and past custodian for the congregation Neal and I attend. I first met Gene and later Becky during their visits to church and our visits to Kansas Christian Home while seeing other members.

jessieWhen I heard Katie had died, my immediate thought was of my own canine companion, a mixed breed mutt that was the last of a litter of puppies no one else wanted. Jessie was a boon companion for thirteen years. We walked together. We checked cattle together. She defended me fiercely when necessary.

She died of congestive heart failure in 1996 and I have yet to be able to paint her portrait. The most recent attempt sits idle as a finished line drawing. Waiting.

But I could paint Katie’s portrait and offered to do so as a gift of service to Katie’s memory. The Newman’s agreed by providing a photograph and I made the painting.

The painting was presented the day after Gene’s birthday, as a birthday present from his wife and me. It was moving to see tears well up in this ex-marine’s eyes at the portrait and at the happy memories it recalled. It put all the struggles over painting, technique, color mixing, and all the rest into proper perspective.

It still does because, after all those years, the portrait still hangs in the Newman’s room at the nursing home. Every time we stop, I see it and am reminded.

Yes, some things are definitely worth more than mere money.