To Our Friend, Michael

"Baja Moon", by Libby Whaley

The following poem was written and read aloud by my friend and fellow painting classmate, Libby Whaley, at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara's "Art Heals" reception and art show on Friday night.

A twist of fate brought you to our door.
Welcomed, you came in and found a new family.
The teacher guided you with a message,
“You can paint whatever you want.”
And with that, you picked up a brush and
your creative legacy was born.

You didn’t know.
You had not been to this place, this space,
this moment in time.
And although your brain was under attack
by errant cells, your brush grew wings and the colors
of the paint danced upon your canvas.

Emotions caught within the tides of your life
began to flow. A wave washed over all of us.
We took notice of the compelling stories unfolding before us.
The colors of an emboldened life were set free to be,
to share love, to inspire, and live outside the lines.

As we painted our still life flowers, we watched
the evolving of an artist, unknown even to himself.
Your brushstrokes unveiled a personal style expressing
joy and movement, a happy heart danced.
And our hearts danced with you.

Although you could not outrun your fatal conclusion,
you knew just what to do.
You wrapped up your life and legacy with a beautiful
Art Exhibit, entitled, “Painting Toward Grace.”
How uncanny, as we had been privy to observe your
life already so full of grace.

Thank you Michael, for gracing us with your presence,
for inspiring us, for sharing your love and hugs.
In awe, we have watched you.
And now you have left us, but not without leaving
the essence of your spirit. It shall live on within the
joie de vivre of your paintings.
We are smiling with you now.

Thanks for allowing me share this, Libby.


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