In Memory of Debbye Hughes
I was given a priceless gift -- the gift of courage -- by my best friend, Debbye Hughes, who died of breast cancer.
Debbye was the City Editor of the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, when her breast cancer returned. She worked as long as possible, then decided to take up a former pastime, watercolor painting, to give focus to her "good" days. I visited often, watching her painting progress with great interest.
One day, when I was watching her paint a hummingbird, I said, "Oh, Debbye, I wish I could paint like that! I've always wanted to do it. I'd give anything if I could create like you do!" She got angry with me for the first and last time in our years of friendship, saying, "What are you waiting for! You have the time. What do you have to lose? Who cares if your work never makes it off your own refrigerator door? JUST DO IT!"
I started painting watercolor stationery and note cards, gradually expanding my painting to include thank you notes, greeting cards, calendars, etching and painting glassware, hand-painting aprons, tote bags, placemats, planters, and more. My son created a website so I could broaden my efforts to sell my work, creating "Linda Lewis Artworks" in November of 2001. When I discovered I could include the work of other artists at the same cost, other than my own time in adding their work to the site, I jumped at the chance to spread Debbye's gift to others. I asked my son to redesign the site and "Creative Artworks" was born in January of 2002.
Creative Artworks is now an all-consuming part of my life. My sister-in-law, Mary Lou Lewis, said it best: "Don't think of it as a website -- Think of it as a member of the family!" At this writing (2003/08/09) we have 81 artists from 29 states plus India, Israel, Colombia, Canada, China, Vietnam, Ireland, and Scotland on the site and welcome others to join us. My goal is to build a truly unique website, both in design and content, rich in the variety of items offered for sale and even richer in the friendships I've made including others on the site.
Creative Artworks is dedicated to the memory of Debbye Hughes, a gutsy woman who wasn't afraid to try new things or challenge others to be their best. From time to time I feel her presence, as if she's looking down at us. I hope she's proud of what we're building together.