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  • Writer's pictureLisa DuBois

You Are a Masterpiece

Last summer, we moved my parents into an apartment. After 27 years in their house, which contained items and memories from their 60 years of marriage, we downsized and purged. And talked, laughed, and remembered.

We found mom's short stories, written when she was a teenager. We looked through the stained glass suncatchers and magnets that Mom had collected through their years of travel. Mom had a story for each one. I kept a few of my favorites. We organized and cleaned out Dad's garage. And cleaned it out some more. And the basement. After three weeks in Kansas City, my husband and I finally headed home to Colorado.

Back home, I opened the box of family photos. It was a small box, not comprehensive, but just a sampling of years gone by. Silly candid shots and studio portraits. And even photos of food. I guess it was a thing even before Facebook and smartphones.

A collage of black and white family photographs from the 1940's and 1950's.
Treasures... old family photos leave clues to the stories of our family.

The old black and white photographs intrigued me. They were a connection to my heritage. They captured the joy and the family, even in the midst of hard times of the Great Depression, wars, and yes, probably dysfunction. Hey, I don't know any family who is perfect.

Black and white photograph of a man laughing with his mouth open wide.
My grandmother wrote a description on this photo of my grandfather. She was often frustrated by his antics. I think this will make a great painting.

In the pile of imperfect photographs of imperfect people, I discovered masterpieces. In the simple beauty of the image, I connected more deeply to my own heart. I thought of my great-grandparents immigrating from Russia at the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution. I remembered the family history of diligent people on both sides of my family tree. I am alive and free today because of the love and determination of my ancestors.

Each one of them was a masterpiece. Not because it was a perfect photo. Not because they were perfect people... far from it, just like me. Each of them was a masterpiece for the same reason that you are a masterpiece.

A black and white photograph of a young woman with the painting in the background.
Recently sold... A photo of Violet from the early 1950's.

You are one-of-a-kind, beautifully and wonderfully made. In the 7 billion people on this planet, there is no one like you. In the history of mankind, there has never been anyone like you. In the future of mankind, there will never be another you.

Close-up of an acrylic portrait of a woman.
You are a masterpiece.

How does a creation become a masterpiece? A masterpiece is a person's greatest piece of work, as in art. It is a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind. A masterpiece requires artistic skill, but it is so much more than that.

Is a masterpiece perfect?

Is the Mona Lisa a perfect painting? What about Monet's Water Lilies? I wonder if Leonardo Da Vinci or Claude Monet considered them masterpieces. I'm sure if they were alive today, they could see a piece of the painting that they wish they had done differently.

As I paint a portrait, I see the imperfections in the face that I study... a crooked tooth, an eye that is slightly different than the other. I recreate these imperfections in the portrait. That's what will capture the likeness of the person. But I see more. So much more. I see the laugh lines, I see the character. I see the design of a masterful Creator, and I ask the question,

"God, how do You see your creation?"

The Spirit of the Creator paints with me. The Spirit says "put a little teal here, a little alizarin crimson there". When I paint in the Spirit, my portraits come alive with the je ne sais quoi that captures the heart of a person. I am a mere vessel, painting what your Creator thinks about you. The joy that I feel when I paint your portrait is the love and joy that God has for you.

An acrylic portrait of a woman from the 1920's.
Ruby is for sale at the Loveland Museum. Visit Ruby and other wonderful pieces by the artists of the Loveland Art Studio Tour.

Together, we have a lot of fun painting you.

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