Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Sophie & Amelia

Photo of scene depicted in painting
Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

Shirley awoke one morning recently with a strong urge to do a painting of our neighbors’ daughters, using a photo their mother had taken of a favorite place of theirs [photo on right]. Sophie is 2 and Amelia is 5. Without mentioning her project to the girls or their mother, Shirley worked on the 5" x 7" painting for two days before surprising them by offering it as a gift.
    As Shirley headed next door with the painting, neither she nor I expected much of a response from the girls’ parents. Both of them are exacting, professional people, in extremely responsible jobs – she an engineer and he a pilot. They just hadn’t struck us as prone to displaying emotion.
    When Shirley returned from next door, she had tears in her eyes, though she did manage to smile at me. She said that when she presented the painting,
Sophie & Amelia (5" x 7")
the mother stared at it for a few seconds during which her methodical, dispassionate, engineering mind must have stepped aside, for she melted into a stream of flowing tears of...acceptance, joy, amazement, and gratitude. So deep and intense was her reaction that Shirley had to stay with her for quite a while holding and consoling her.
    Shirley told me later – after we, too, had hugged and wept together – that she had never received such a heart-felt and intense thanking from anyone she had presented a painting to. This is why Shirley paints for people. This is what it’s all about for her, and so much bigger than any money she might receive. (There was no monetary consideration at all in this case, as in many cases with Shirley.)

Copyright © 2017 by Vic & Shirley Deane/Midyett


  1. Shirley’s impulse to reach out produced a painting whose effect was powerful – for both its recipient and her & Vic....And I, too, was powerfully affected when I saw the painting and read its story. I add my thanks to Susan’s.

  2. Nothing so special as touching someone's heart in a meaningful way. While it is not unusual for her it is always thrilling.