A dear old friend did something incredibly nice for me. They wouldn’t let me help pay, waving their hand to shoo away the idea like a bothersome fly. “I am happy to do this, I don’t need the money”, my friend said in their very generous way. And so it was done. But was it? I didn’t feel so, especially when they followed up with another generous offer of tickets for my two boys and me for a sporting event – and we Bostonians love our sports. Great seats, great time. Now I really wondered how could I pay this friend back when they are so generous to me but won’t take money? Give them a gift back! An offer they couldn’t refuse. . . a painting.
I am sure all of us that dabble, or do mare than dabble, in some form of art have given pieces of your work away as gifts from time to time. The joy is so much greater to see the recipients face light up and know how you have given a one-of-a-kind expression of your friendship or appreciation. We also, more often then we let on as artists, have doubts up to the point of unwrapping if the work is really good enough. No matter what the level you are at, its the gesture – the time spent thinking, planning, creating – that goes into the piece that is what gets appreciated. That person knows you thought of them the whole time and it wasn’t a quick run to the mall to buy something, you made it.
I am including the painting I just gave this week. It was from a special photo they had taken and I hope that my friend has a chance to hang it, enjoy it, and know how much I treasure their friendship when they look at it.
So, think about sharing your gift as a gift more often! And if your talent isn’t painting, pottery, sketching, jewelry-making, or photography but something like gardening or baking — do that! Make up beautiful pots of mixed flowers that can be enjoyed or their favorite cake or pie. Better yet – don’t wait to use it for a thank you or birthday gift – just do it to be thoughtful. It’s an old-fashioned gesture that is missed!