Painting Toward Grace
I've written about my friend, fellow brain cancer survivor, and watercolor classmate, Michael Orchowski, in a previous post, but I'm going to do it again. I want you to have an opportunity to participate in the remarkable journey of one of the most fascinating people I've ever met. Are you reading this, Barbara Walters?
The Dream Foundation is collaborating with Cancer Center of Santa Barbara and 33 Jewels at El Paseo to present an exhibition of Michael's work, "Painting Toward Grace", on Thursday, December 1, 5-8pm, at 33 Jewels gallery in downtown Santa Barbara as part of 1st Thursday.
From the event flyer:
"Michael's art is rich with imagery, with each of his paintings detailing his journey through and beyond illness. Michael hopes that others will benefit from his experience, and enjoy this exhibition of his work...
"In the advanced stages of ALS, Michael's wish is to have an exhibition of his work "which would expose many others to my joie de vivre in spite of this strong infirmity." Paralyzed on his right side, and only able to use his non-dominant left hand, he strives to express himself in "joyful colors, with my right brain and my left hand. The colors which I applied in the various paintings are happy and express my positive outlook towards life."
Nearly every painting Michael has painted in class will be on display and for sale, so there should be a lot of opportunities to obtain some one-of-a-kind holiday gifts! Michael and his equally inspiring wife, Doedy, are generously donating the proceeds from the event to be divided equally between the Dream Foundation and the CCSB Wellness Programs, to increase awareness for both organizations.
Michael is a bright, shining light with an infectious smile, and an inspiration to everyone he meets. But don't just take it from me - I've asked my classmates to contribute their thoughts on our friend Michael, too:
- "What a pleasure it is being a painting comrade with Michael. He is an inspiration of love and hope and an artist to boot! His paintings exude joy and life filled with color and brush strokes that define his unique style, absolute "Michaelness". His art is a true expression of his life, his heart and his story, which is compelling and reaches out and touches the viewer. I'm glad that he found his brush." - Libby Whaley
- "Michael is the kind of philosopher we need quoted in textbooks. Upbeat, courageous, memorable, he smiles at himself and the capriciousness of life. Michael has a droll sense of humor, and a gentle, loving and sensitive heart. He’s a one-of-a-kind artist, and an inspiring member of our art class. He’s a hero!" - Laurette Valentine
- "Michael's art has always expressed to me his love of life in the face of challenges and pain. His good humor and whimsy belies strength founded in humility and kindness." - Michael Taylor
- "When I first met Michael I felt an immediate bond with him. I know he felt it, too. It was only after my initial meeting and conversations with him that I was able to step back and appreciate his art. What a treat that was! He can somehow capture what is going on in his body with paint and paper in the most amazing way. His paintings are expressive, organic and extremely captivating. He is a remarkable person in many, many ways and an artist in the BEST sense. I am proud to know him." - Karen Westheimer
- "I'm the girl that sat next to you most of the time at class. Your work there has been an authentic journey towards Heaven. Your graceful attitude has inspired many a great deal. I looked forward for Mondays to come. I have enjoyed the comments, the interaction and the encouragement with you. I hope to see you at your coming exhibit. You leave behind you a work of love that I personally appreciate. Your presence will be real to me in my future work, and I hope will reflect what friendship and support can bring to a searching world for true goodness. Your positiveness gave me hope and then some. Ma el salama, my dear friend......" - Natalie Khoury
- "Watching Michael paint is an education in itself. Every brush stroke is loaded with meaning and is an integral part of the whole painting. In this way, each of us adds an integral part to the lives of those around us. Michael has shown us by example that, no matter what challenge arises, there is a way to express yourself and create beauty in your very own, wonderful style. Thank you, Michael, for blessing us with so many magical paintings--you can always tell an Orchowski!" - Tessa Flanagan
- "Michael is our Archangel." - Rick Stich, Instructor
- "The kindest blue eyes. Big blue and filled with love. His art is an extension of his love and the way he lives. Each piece is filled with bright colors, abstract, yes but his message is clear, live each moment in joy and hope. I love you Michael...you know that." - Charlene Hovey
Please join Michael's friends and help Michael fulfill his dream on this very special night.
- Location: 33 JEWELS AT EL PASEO, 814 State Street, 805-957-9100
- Date: Thursday, December 1, 2011
- Time: 5:00 - 8:00pm
- Bonus: Wine and refreshments will be served.