Have you ever met anyone who embodied the very meaning of living and breathing as an artist?

That was my past mother-in-law and friend, Joan Levy Earle. She was an oil painter, watercolorist, as well as a writer. She was, in a every sense of the word, a true creative storyteller.

Our relationship started in 2013 and in the year 2014 she encouraged me to have an art showing at her studio with my small paintings. I invited my friends and family to see my 70 little paintings on display. The show was called organized chaos and actually sold quite a few pieces! She always encouraged the expressive arts and had many opinions on what I was working on, always in a constructive “I have been in this business honey for 40 years” kind of way.

She would successfully win grants, hold book launches and art shows, and my introverted self would watch her work the room with her magic, her stories, engaging people with her personality. She had quite a fan base!!

We had very different styles and work in different mediums but the one thing we did have in common was a love for creating art.

One of Joan’s pieces was quite mesmerizing. An oil painting of a marsh with light shining through. Beautiful and understated but breathtaking in its simplicity.

I wanted this painting so badly and it was donated to be used as a door prize for a fundraiser. I bought so many tickets (because I wanted to win!) and my ticket number was pulled! I was super excited to win the painting!!

She was the person who encouraged me to continue painting and explore whatever creative endeavor spoke to me.

Our relationship faded the past few years due to my husbands passing, yet she was always sending me emails and letters, asking me what I was working on and sharing her art journey. She was a prolific letter writer. We reconnected during COVID and started writing each other again on a more regular basis. She was having a difficult time of things. Her last email to me in October mentioned she was going to see the doctor for some health issues.

Unfortunately, her health issues worsened and has since joined her son and her two husbands. I feel tremendous gratitude for having known such a wonderful artist and the lessons I have learned from her. She taught me that as an artist, impressions are everything. Well, she has left quite an impression on me when it comes to expressing who you are through art and passion for the arts. She will be missed.