This week, I surprised my mom with this painting. My Uncle Rubbo, one of her older brother’s passed away a year and half ago unexpectedly. Rubbo was seriously one of the coolest guys I’ve ever known. So much swag and independence. He was known for his year around “killer tan”. I can still hear his deep voice and laugh. Rubbo had the best taste in music, which was something we always connected on. To this day, one of the most favorite things I own is his collection of records from the 60s and 70s he left me. I love our memories of riding in his ’65 black mustang convertible to his “secret” shelling spot, Tiger Tail Island, jamming to his music. I could go on forever about him. But one of the most admirable things about him was he never did anything he didn’t want to, even if it came off a little stubborn at times. He literally lived his life exactly the way he wanted to. And I’ve always admired him highly for that. It’s something I’ve grown to believe strongly in; creating the life you dream of. He saw potential and would push people to work for it: strive towards being your best. Whether it golf, or personally, my art.
The last dinner I had with him, was when my mom and I went on our routine visit to see him in Naples Florida. For all of you that know him, know he had his “couple of drinks” of Mount Gay and Coke, and was speaking exactly how he felt. At this point I was teaching yoga and leading my paddle board yoga business full time, with art on the back burner. He was always so supportive about my education at Ole Miss and my art, always wanting to set me up with connections to make it happen. We were talking about how I wanted to move and he asked me what I really wanted to do. I said be an artist, BUT yoga is my steady income. Rubbo started to push me telling me that I need to put all my energy into what I really want to do. He was telling me if I want to be a full time artist, I have to put all my time into it and work my ass off at it. He pushed me. He wanted me to realize my potential and that I could make it happen and to stop wasting time. A year after his death, I moved to Denver, dropping all my levels of comfort, to pursue my art full time. And now I’m here, creating art every day, working hard to make my dream evolve. I know for a fact he touched countless peoples lives like this. Especially, his little sister, my mom.
I wanted to do this painting for her, so she can see him every day and feel his life and presence. Just as I do when I see his records, and listen to our music. I believe that even when people leave us physically, their light still lives on. Their life lives in our heart. They can still reflect on and inspire us everyday.
The thing I love most about painting is it captures a moment. A moment that’s passed but yet holds such much life. Color and paint application read so powerfully and strike emotion in us. You can visually feel the life in the transitory moment painted. Paintings express the life in an experience that was short lived, documenting it forever.
The process of this painting took me deeper into a painting than I’ve ever felt. My heart was so engaged, I even found myself painting with my hands, which was something I’ve never done. It was a train of emotions from start to finish, from tears to smiling. I was present with the deep love of the painting and feelings that happened along the way. It was a very inspiring experience having these waves of emotion grasping me into the painting.
Doing this painting has given me an even deeper, which I didn’t even know was possible, appreciation for all of these commissions I do. Whether it a person, animal, or place I know its something that the viewer and client has a deep love for. Art truly is the best gift. It’s an everlasting visual expression of light and color depicting something that awakened/touched us.
RIP Rob Gardner
Your light lives on <3
Happy Mothers Day, Mom.
I love you.