|Katelyn and Julia 10″x10″ watercolor and pastel|
During the last month I recently completed another Art Heart for my project with Olivia’s Heart Fund. This heart illustrates the story of sisters Katelyn Rose and Julia Kate.
At her three month ultrasound, doctors discovered that Katelyn Rose had a heart defect. The right ventricle was not formed, the valves to that ventricle and the pulmonary valve were too small, and there were holes in her heart. For the remainder of the pregnancy, her parents went through many test and appointments praying that somehow their daughter would be OK. Within days of her birth Katelyn Rose underwent her first heart surgery, which went well. Over the next few days her health improved and she started to eat. But on the sixth day things changed dramatically as her blood pressure dropped. Doctors discovered that the left side of her heart showed signs of damage as well, and that she would most likely need a heart transplant.
Days passed, and no heart was available. Katelyn Rose’s heart would still not work on its own, and she was eventually taken off the heart and lung bypass machine. She passed away at twelve days old.
The next few years were extremely difficult for her parents, but eventually they found hope in that they were pregnant again. With trepidation they went to the first ultrasound, only to found that this child was afflicted with the same heart defect. Again, they prayed as they went through more testing. The news was better this time – there was more blood flow in utero than originally thought, and her condition improved during the pregnancy. When Julia Kate was born, she would not need a full surgery. Though there were ups and downs, she was allowed to go home at eleven days old. Five years later she has still not had any procedures.
|The sketch with the first layers of watercolor|
Well this was another complex story to visualize. I wanted to incorporate imagery for remembrance, wings for Katelyn Rose, something for Julia Kate, but be hopeful and youthful. I had a lot to think about! This, of course after I stopped crying from reading the essay (again!).I settled on roses in honor of Katelyn Rose. While roses are not typically flowers of remembrance, as her namesake they fit, and I thought in an arbor they would symbolize her passage into the afterlife. Someplace beautiful, peaceful, hopeful. During the sketching process the arbor became a circular gate, as both the place we cannot go (yet) and circular as cyclical and eternal. Upon the gate is my symbol for Julia Kate. The ribbon represents youth and childhood – her life on this side with us. White wings are always representative of the child who has passed. There are eleven roses cascading over the gate – remembering that Julia Kate came home to her family on the eleventh day, and a twelfth rose in the ribbon for the twelfth day on which Katelyn Rose went home to God.
|leaves and vines are added|
|The gate and background are filled in, and more detail is added to the roses|
|Pastel is layered and blended over the watercolor base|
|The completed artwork|
Normally I also find an area that I highlight with a metallic at some point, but in this case I didn’t feel it belonged there. This is the seventh piece in my series of Art Hearts for Olivia’s Heart Fund. If you’d like to read more about the project please check out the Art Hearts page on my blog. If you’d like to purchase a print or greeting card of this or other paintings, they are available through the charity’s store, and all proceeds benefit Olivia’s Heart Fund. If you feel inspired to make a donation to the charity please click here or on the button below to visit the charity’s site. Thank you!