In our house we have portraits of each of our daughters as babies. The portraits ascend the staircase in age order from oldest to youngest. Each captures the essence of each child. They were created by an artist in Quebec City. Each was sketched the summer after each of our girls was born. The most recent one was completed over a decade ago.
The artist practiced her craft in the pedestrian way reserved for artists between Rue du Tresor and Rue des Jardins just below the glorious Chateau Frontenac. Our artist was grouchy yet sweet. She was pretty yet seemed tired. We coaxed her to give us just what we wanted and she captured it each time.
Between the birth of our middle and youngest daughter we found out she had retired. The other artists told us she was tired of the daily grind which is certainly understandable. It was hard work.
Not wanting to have an incomplete set we enlisted one of the artists to help track her down. She reluctantly agreed to execute the portrait by photograph and mail and all sorts of artistic heresy. It was all worth it because our ensemble is complete.
Our little girls are becoming young ladies. When I walk up the stairs to wish them goodnight I catch a glimpse of their impish spirit in those portraits, all thanks to the gritty gifted artist who captured them in a more meaningful way than any photograph could. I am grateful we have them.
On a whim, I recently ran an internet search on our artist's name. I expected to find some announcements of a local showing, maybe a website for internet portraits, unlikely but even possibly an obituary.
Instead, I found nothing. It was as if she didn't or doesn't exist. She was too talented for that. It made me sad.
But then it dawned on me, she most certainly exists. She exists in our home, probably in hundreds of homes all over the world. She shared her gift and her talent with all of us for as long as she felt fit.
Remembering her artistic temperament I am pretty sure she really doesn't care what I think and that's OK. Rather my message is to artists everywhere. Your art matters. It affects people. Keep creating and sharing. Unlike so many fleeting things today the impact of your work is enduring.