Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, August 24, 2012


Hood's Veil
Last night i took inspiration and implemented a lesson from a fellow artist, and dear friend who lost her life to cancer earlier this week.
To honor Shirley Nelson, i set out to paint Mt Hood, which has long been a favorite subject for her. To my frustration, i found the sentinel covered by clouds; clouds that i was sure would add interest to the sky, just not this much interest.
I stood in disbelief as i knew this was going to ruin my plan. What could i do? How could i make this work? Obviously, Mother Nature has a will of her own and there was no parting of these clouds anywhere on the horizon.
I was just about to head for home when i thought, wait a minute, why don't you just take what has been offered to you and work with it?.... This thought process just happens to be how Shirley lived her life. She had dealt with cancer for years, a lot of years. In an out of hospitals, countless procedures, rounds of chemo, the list goes on and on. Yet, if you were to meet her, you would have never guessed she was dealing with such serious issues. She was ALWAYS a beam of sunlight, just a sweetheart of a person to be around. Always, genuinely interested in what and how others were doing.
Even though, i am sure she had her dark days, Shirley chose to focus on the positive side of life and enjoy it for as much as she could squeeze out of it and refused to give in to the negative.
So, i took this inspiration to heart and forced ahead and painted the scene as it was, without the mountain. And in many ways this painting may not work for most people, but it wasn't painted for most people, it was painted for one person.
Shirley, you are one of the strongest people i have ever met and i will take your inspiration and your example and do my best to honor your courage.
Thank you for being a friend.


  1. She was a special lady and a special artist. I only met her once, but she was a true masterpiece. Blessings to her family.

  2. I love this story Michael, she sounds like a remarkable person that I wish I had known. Thanks for sharing.

  3. The painting is gorgeous; what a lovely way of honoring your friend.

  4. Beautiful painting, Michael. I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend. Any local person can see the mountain in your painting, plain as day. I'll bet Shirley would see it too.

  5. I like how your thoughts were directed in a most positive way thinking about how to paint in Shirley's honor. I know she would love what you came up with. It's a lovely painting! I wish I knew her too--she's a wonderful influence for sure. :)

  6. Thanks All for the kind comments! They are much appreciated.

  7. This is an absolutely stunning work. It must have been wonderful to know Shirley in person.

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment Chumbum! And you are correct, she was an absolute steel peach.