For my latest Okey’s Promise Project, I am using real animals and children as my models. I will be painting 10-12 paintings that represent everyday people and everyday creatures that have a story of resilience and survival.
I chose Sebastian, a gray and white tabby cat from the Kansas City, MO area as a model for a number of reasons. He was a 7 year old kitty who somehow found himself in a homeless pet shelter at a mature age when he worked his way into the heart of Amy, a volunteer.
Sebastian had a sensitive soul, and a sensitive stomach, as it turned out. He survived being homeless and being a harder to place cat. He survived ongoing tummy issues. He wrote about his adventures and the needs of other pets on his blog, and he helped get the word out about adopting harder to place animals.
And he became an amazing companion to Amy and her husband Lee.
Earlier this year, Sebastian survived another huge crisis when Amy and Lee’s apartment burned down. Luckily, he and Dottie, his companion guinea pig, and Amy and Lee, got out safely. But their home and all their things were destroyed. Sebastian was great comfort to Amy and Lee during those trying days.
Sadly, Sebastian, ever the resilient one, was not able to live forever in this world, however. He developed serious health problems last weekend, to which he succumbed last night. He was 9 years old.
My heart goes out to Amy and Lee. Amy and I have become great friends online and in real life. We share a love of animals and we understand how deep that love goes for people like us. I know how dear this creature was to her.
Amy has also been a huge support to me as an artist, and was one of the first people to commission a pet portrait from me. Ironically, that painting was destroyed in the fire, and I will soon be re-painting it for her.
Sebastian was only with Amy and Lee for 2 years, but that was enough time for a beautiful love story to blossom. I believe that the souls of animals live on, and I am certain that this sensitive soul is now in a good place.
Thank you, Sebastian for being the purrfect model. And thank you Amy for sharing his soul with me and so many others.
This painting is not yet complete, as it will eventually have drawings from children pasted into the background. Follow Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause for further developments with the project.