What do I want to be when I grow up? An artist? Ahhhh, I would love to be able to sit around all day, painting whatever my heart desired, while sitting back and watching the money roll in.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I have a day job, and thankfully it’s one I enjoy. I’ve worked very hard to get to the day job I’ve always wanted, and worked a lot of cruddy jobs (truck driver, vending machine stocker, night shift newspaper printer, you name it) before this one. Several years ago, my manager plucked me from a depressing job building small copy ads for a tiny black and white classifieds paper, and since then I’ve been SO grateful to be working for her, happily designing posters, flyers, and marketing material for army and family facilities on military posts, as well as any events that come through. It’s an awesome job.
So I art in my spare time. I art ALL the time. I’m very lucky that my daughter loves to art, too, which is why we art together. I decided that if I can’t make full time money with our art, I’d be happy if we could find ways to use our artsy art powers for the forces of Good.
Once upon a time, when I saw an Instagram artist post their progress on something called the Painted Prosthetic Project to support Veterans, I was immediately curious, and contacted them. If you haven’t followed me long, you may not know I come from a military family. My dad was Army. I was an Army dependent in my high school and college years. And I did four years in the Army myself (photos of my Army scowl below), where I met my husband, who is still in the Army.
And just like that, I became part of the Painted Prosthetic Project. This group has joined artists together to paint a used prosthetic limb that will eventually be professionally photographed and displayed in Florida galleries. They’ll be turned into a coffee book to raise money to help wounded and homeless Veterans get back on their feet. Working with Warriors Pathfinder, 100% of the money gathered from an online auction of the art pieces themselves will help veterans and their families.
They’ve set up a GoFundMe page to help offset things like the cost of shipping the prosthetics to the artists as well of any out-of-pocket expenses so that ALL of the rest of the money can go directly to Warriors Pathfinder.
Since they knew the work my daughter and I do together, they assigned me a child’s prosthetic, and shipped it to me straight away. I debated for a long time as to what to draw on it. I wanted to get Myla involved, and decided to go for the idea of a sort of imaginary world; something a kid would love to look at.
I started with a sketch and a rough paint layout, using Myla as a reference, sketching her hands open to hold something. Then I explained the project to Myla, asking if she’d like to add any sort of imaginary creatures to it. She always does. Her eyes lit up and her hand started sketching. She drew a gnome, a dragon, some fairies, and a few other creatures. I added pointed fairy ears to her face. She said she wanted it to look like a forest full of fairy friends and strange creatures.
The fun part about drawing with her is trying to clarify her drawings into something that makes sense with mine. I always say I’m sort of like an interpreter, to help people understand what her drawings mean as well as making them make sense in the context of my drawings. It’s like getting a glimpse of the wonder and fascination kids have for EVERYthing.
She gave me guidelines as to what colors certain characters should be. Apparently, the little fairy gnomes at the bottom were looking at the stars, and since she’s fascinated with constellations, I added the stars, and some moths to balance it all out.
And here’s our final piece! I decided to leave the back blank so it could be displayed on a wall or hanging up, with only this side showing, and I’m pretty happy with it!
It’s intimidating putting our little ol’ work next to the likes of such wonderful artists as those involved, but I’m happy to be part of it, and to let Myla be a part of helping someone else.
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You can follow them on Instagram at @paintedprostheticproject.
To follow them on Facebook, go here.
If you’d like to donate to their GoFundMe page, you can do that here.
If you can’t donate, a share would help spread the word! Thank you so much. 🙂