I met Murphy the Cat and her human parent, D. Jill Pugh online via Twitter. Although we have never actually met (we are on opposite sides of the country), I feel that we have developed a strong bond through our online relationship.
Jill commissioned Murphy’s portrait knowing that her beloved pet was growing older and frail. She wanted a loving tribute to keep her memory alive for always.
Sadly, Murphy passed on to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday (January 8, 2010). She was 18 years old.
I don’t really know how to explain how I feel about this turn of events, but I will try.
First, I want to share my deepest sympathy with Jill and the rest of Murphy’s family. I know that losing such a beloved friend is a very profound loss. Jill shared with me that she felt a similar bond to Murphy as I felt with the original Beezie-tat, and I know how sad she must feel right now.
Second, I want to share my own feelings of loss.
When I paint an animal’s portrait, I absorb myself not only in the artistic process, but also in the essance of my subject’s being. The animal takes a special place in my heart, and it’s presence drives me through the process of creating the portrait.
I also try to “feel” the importance of the animal’s relationship with his or her human family. I believe that this genuine connection with the subject is what makes my paintings come alive.
I have no choice, really. It is just what happens. I cannot resist the force of connection that I have with animals and the people who love them.
When one of my subjects passes on, it is a very real loss for me. I am writing this post with tears in my eyes.
I feel so blessed and honored to have had the opportunity to paint Murphy, especially since the portrait has taken on new meaning now.
Thank you Jill and Murphy for coming into my life. As sad as this day is, I am so glad I had the opportunity to share the time that we did with each other.
Rest in Peace, dear Murphy. You have left your paw prints on my soul.
Life is and Adventure!