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I first met Dave at Kaldi’s, where we discussed the idea of surprising Jackie with a painting at Christmas. Jackie was not a stranger to me. She had supported me throughout my journeys as an artist and as a cancer patient, and I knew her to be loving and upbeat. But listening to Dave talk about his wife showed me depths of love and admiration that moved me to tears. Throughout our conversation, I struggled to funnel his outpouring of devotion onto paper so I could reference it later.

I loved witnessing Dave’s soft spot for his wife that dwells within his fast-paced businessman exterior. He brought a long list of things he loves about his wife. The coloring of her eyes and skin. The cut of her hair and its rich brown. Her selfless desire to serve others. And the way she gets down on the floor to play with children, entering their world.

Dave said that Jackie is the most generous person he has ever met. She values relationships and invests in people, doing whatever she can to spend time with them. She would drive hours just to be near a friend. He loves that she is loyal and faithful to the people in her life, and that she has the rare ability to read people and situations and understand what is needed below the surface.

Jackie is excellent at supporting people through difficult circumstances, but she also knows how to have fun (even at a ball game when she doesn’t know the rules). She dives into any situation with total enthusiasm. Listening to Dave speak, I could tell he trusts Jackie in way that can only be attained after spending 20 years married to an honest person who follows through with her commitments.

I created this piece to echo Dave’s love for Jackie. The color reflects Jackie’s love of community and family, as well as her rich brown hair and eyes. There was no photographer at this unveiling. No loud celebration. They were about to leave for a big trip, and Dave pulled the painting out from the car, wrapped in a blanket. As Jackie explained, that’s how life and marriage are sometimes. There aren’t always perfect moments. Sometimes you just have to take time in the middle of mass chaos to stop and appreciate one another and the journey you’re on together.

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