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Remembering Heidi on her birthday [Jun. 12th, 2012|10:28 am]
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Some people live organized, uncluttered lives. Me, I’m a messy, mixed-media kind of girl. I use every crayon in the Crayola box, and I’m not afraid to color outside the lines--most of the time, anyway. But there’s a certain comfort that comes of boundaries, of brushing preset colors into numbered spaces on a printed canvas.

And so it was with my sister Heidi, the impish little girl who eventually learned to play it safe. She had a wild streak in her, and she told whoppers stories like no one’s business. But life stripped away much of her sass, mostly before she reached adulthood. Over the course of many years, Multiple Sclerosis ravaged her limbs and organs. She was first confined to a wheelchair, and then a hospital bed with side rails. She could have given up, but no. Radio tuned to Christian broadcasts, brushes clenched between palsied fingers, Heidi propped herself up and painted.  

To a trained artist, Paint By Number sets might seem a little tacky.  To an unfettered soul, they’re probably too restricting. But for someone as isolated as Heidi was--surrounded by colorless walls in a sterile bedroom--they afford a creative outlet. Wings, if you will. They encouraged her to dream about places she’d never seen and probably never would. They gave her a voice, one that told the outside world: “I am here, I am capable, I am.

It's Heidi's birthday today, and I find myself staring at this painting (a gift she gave me just last summer), find myself thinking about why it is that I haven't framed it yet. It’s as if, in doing so, I’d be placing boundaries around the artist herself...around Heidi, the mischievous little girl who doesn’t have to color inside the lines, ever again.


[User Picture]From: lorrainemt
2012-06-12 06:07 pm (UTC)
Oh Melodye, how beautiful. Your post, your sister, her painting, and you. Hugs and love.
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[User Picture]From: jeannineatkins
2012-06-12 06:58 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful tribute.

Frame or not, but there's no way you could place borders on these feelings. Sending love on this hard day.
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[User Picture]From: robinellen
2012-06-12 07:18 pm (UTC)
Lovely tribute -- thank you for sharing!
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[User Picture]From: olmue
2012-06-12 07:48 pm (UTC)
Hugs, Melodye! I'm glad you had such a wonderful sister, and I'm sorry that she's not with you now.
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[User Picture]From: annemariepace
2012-06-12 07:51 pm (UTC)
She did a beautiful job with this. And I'm glad you have it as a special memento.
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[User Picture]From: i_amsherlocked
2012-06-12 08:47 pm (UTC)
Perhaps instead of framing it, you can mount it as is? :)
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[User Picture]From: tracyworld
2012-06-12 09:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, Melodye. This is a beautiful tribute to your sister and the love you shared. That impish little girl will always live in your heart, no matter what you choose to do with her painting.

Love and hugs...
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[User Picture]From: heatherp8
2012-06-12 10:46 pm (UTC)
lovely tribute to your sister and how wonderful that you have this picture to cherish.
she'll always remain in your heart because as long as we remember our loved ones, they've never really left us.
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[User Picture]From: boreal_owl
2012-06-13 12:26 am (UTC)
Heatherp8 said it beautifully:

"as long as we remember our loved ones, they've never really left us."

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[User Picture]From: peterlaird
2012-06-13 12:17 pm (UTC)
I wish I could paint that well! It's a nice effect considering all of the colors are flat, not mixed or blended. Maybe it's because we just got back from a trip to the Maine coast, but I really like this scene.

Judging by what I know of you from our online communications, Melodye, I'd say your sister picked just the right image to give to you. Those rose bushes remind me of the ones belonging to your neighbor that you described in a recent email, for example.

"Paint by number" kits do have an unfortunate reputation, but I think it's quite possible that the personality of the artist comes through even when filling in numbered spaces with numbered colors. There's always room for variation in brush strokes, moving colors inside or outside the outlined spaces, choosing how thick the paint should be, and so on. Maybe your sister even played around with the colors, tweaking them here and there to suit her vision… or what she thought you'd like most.
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[User Picture]From: jamarattigan
2012-06-13 12:43 pm (UTC)
Love this beautiful tribute and the painting! She put the colors in your world, as you did in hers.
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[User Picture]From: poolhallace
2012-06-13 01:51 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful tribute to your sister.

I refuse to believe that the posted painting is a paint by number! I LOVE it. There is something so happy and friendly about the piece that I agree...a frame would somehow take away from it.
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[User Picture]From: inknbeans
2012-06-13 05:50 pm (UTC)
A metaphor for memories. Perfect.
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[User Picture]From: artistq
2012-06-13 11:17 pm (UTC)
lovely melodye!
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