Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I was blessed to have been married to an incredible man for 29 years; this past Friday would have been his 59th birthday. I miss him terribly, but try to see each October 21st as an opportunity to celebrate his life, honor his legacy, and remember him and the things he valued.

Over the past five years, my children and I have developed what I call a ‘remembrance ritual’; we go to dinner at Andy’s favorite restaurant, then go home, put a candle in a cake made out of his favorite donuts, sing Happy Birthday, and share ‘Daddy’ stories. There is a measure of comfort for each of us in the ritual. Although he is no longer here physically, Andy continues to be an important part of my life, and I talk about him frequently. My son, who turned twelve two days after Andy died, doesn’t really like to talk about his dad, but he does seem to enjoy hearing stories– especially ones he hasn’t heard before. Trying to think of a new story to share each year is getting more challenging, but I’ve discovered that there is an art to remembrance… just like drawing, it grows easier with practice.


Two years ago, my daughter Samantha, who is a gifted singer/songwriter, wrote a song in memory of her Dad, which moves me to tears every time I hear it. It’s called Legacy, and she finally recorded it this summer. I was honored when she asked me to sing back-up vocals on the recording:


The producer listened to some of Sam’s other songs, and encouraged her to record an entire album. I’ve heard nine of the ten songs which will be on it, and while I admit to being more than a bit prejudiced, it’s totally awesome! In honor of Andy’s birthday, Sam wrote a FB post about the project: “For the last couple of months, I have been recording my first album: LISTEN. This whole project started because I wanted to record the song I wrote about my grieving process, Legacy/Esah Enai, and dedicate it to my Dad— but the project has turned into so much more! My dad loved music, and he passed that love on to me. He would be so proud that I am working towards achieving my dreams.” And I am so proud of Sam, not just for writing and recording her beautiful music, but for creating such a meaningful tribute to her dad.

When it came time to design the album cover, Sam and I decided to collaborate. She painted the background wash with Sakura’s awesome Koi® Coloring Brush pens, and I did the lettering with my favorite tool, a Pigma® Micron 01.


We scanned our handwork, and then I put the pieces together in PhotoShop. Here’s what the finished design looks like:


Sam has recorded five of the songs, and is planning a Kickstarter to raise the rest of the funds she needs to complete the album. She wants to offer a limited edition print with the words to the bridge of Legacy as one of the Kickstarter rewards, so  I’ve been trying to create a design which captures the impact of her words, and the haunting beauty of the melody. Here’s what I’ve come up with thus far.


I think it needs something– perhaps a musical staff and notes ghosted in the background? A gradated wash rather than an overcast sky background? A different lettering style or color? I’m open to suggestions, and would value your opinion. This is your chance to be an Art Director! Please leave a comment to share your thoughts on how to improve the design. And (here comes a shameless plug by a proud mom), if you would like Sam to send you information about her Kickstarter, and or the Listen album when it is available, you can either leave a comment in the blog, or send me an e-mail: [email protected], and I’ll ask Sam to add you to her mailing list.

Before closing tonight, I want to thank everyone who voted on the cover of the Bible Journaling book I’ve been working on. I read each comment (twice!) and have also shared your thoughts with my publisher. I’m not sure what they will ultimately decide, but I want each of you to know that your input means a lot to me. I am really looking forward to seeing the final cover, and will share it in my blog as soon as I have permission to do so.

Congratulations to Dawn Reaume, who was the random winner of last week’s contest. Dawn, please e-mail me your snail mail address, and I will send you a copy of Complete Guide to Bible Journaling: Creative Techniques to Express Your Faith, when it is published.

Stay Zenspired,






25 thoughts on “Legacy”

  1. I would ❤️to be added to the list to receive information on your daughters kickstart ! Thanks so much for adding me !

  2. Hi Joanne!
    Such a beautiful piece you and Sam have created. I like the idea of musical notes and I think a bit more color in the background. Maybe bring the rainbow in the bottom left corner up towards the center, or use your husbands favorite colors in the mix. The words are perfect, such a loving, powerful statement.


  3. It’s beautiful. Two things come to mind. Perhaps the background wash could be darker around the perimeter to highlight the message. Also, is there a way you could incorporate a music note and the heart? I love your works and I make copies of the coloring book pages so my just turned four year-old granddaughter can color with me.

  4. My dear friend,

    I am very excited to see Sam’s CD come to fruition! Please do add me to her list, if you haven’t already!
    I have found that my mom and I are just now able to talk, without tears, about memories of my Dad. Of course, there are still tears quite often, but that’s okay too. It helps me A LOT, to talk about him, and keep his presence alive in my heart and mind. I wish I had known your Andy, but in a way I feel like I do, because of the things we have talked about and what you have shared with the group! What a blessing he was in your life!
    So, I do have some thoughts on the Legacy print. I think the background may be a bit too dark, and thus, distracts from the lettering. I was thinking that a rising sun, symbolizes hope and renewal. So maybe you could show just the suns rays, coming up and lighting up the sky a bit. Or something along those lines .

    Sending love and hugs!
    Mary Anne

  5. A wonderful post for remembrance. My mom’s birthday is October 22. (She would’ve been 98). She’s been gone, physically, for 16 years…but I was so lucky to have her as long as we did. I connect with your thoughts, because I still miss my parents every single day. My children and I don’t have any rituals, but we keep my parents memories alive by talking about them often. You know what I mean…”oh, Grandpa would’ve loved that baseball game!”….or….”Grandma had the best recipe for that!” Sorry to blather on. I would definitely be interested in receiving information from Sam. Thanks for all you do, and Thank God for your incredible talents.

  6. Thank you for your lovely work I lost my dear Jud five years ago this February. We were together for thirty nine years. I planned on growing old with him, as I am sure you did. Thank you for your work which helps us artists and widows to find some comfort.

    Warmly, Sue Reaney

  7. Mazel Tov to Sam and you. The 2 songs I’ve heard her sing are beautiful. I didn’t realize you were singing background on Legacy. What an Honor to Andrew. I hope you’ve already added me to her list!

    About the limited edition print, I agree it needs something. In my opinion (and I love blue) but it needs some additional color, maybe picking up more of the other colors in the background? Her name and Listen Album is lost, blends in too much. As well “I am your” is lost. Love the overall design and style of lettering. Not sure it needs musical staff or notes in background.
    I hoe you don’t take my comments as criticism.
    Knowing you I know really you won’t.
    Will text you my other comments.
    ((Hugs)). Toni

  8. A beautiful tribute from both of you! Love the finished design. You asked for ideas…..I’m thinking it might look good witha little brightness or yellow somehow behind “Legacy.” Or even some of the pink/purple that is in the background, but coming to brightness? My thought was that the future Legacy was warm and brilliant, shining. Sam has proven that one.

  9. This post has touch my heart deeply. Love the quote about Legacy. My parents died when I was 16 and in everything I do u know that I want to make them proud of the person I have become. . Thank you for this and can’t wait to hear your album. With your drawings and your encouragement words you are a inspiration for me.

  10. Thank you Joanne! I’m sorry about you losing your husband at such a young age. I’ve lost my parents and aunts and uncles so there is no older family to talk to. Right now my husband has throat cancer and they said there got it all. but there’s this white round spot where they removed his tonsil. They also removed a part of the base of his tongue and the radical tonsillectomy. It’s inoperable because it’s right on his carotid artery and now it seems to be getting hard again. My daughter has a large mass in her liver and it’s in a spot where benign tumors don’t usally occur. So I’m getting back into my faith art and I love your art. All the little dangles and the style of art you do is absoultely beautiful. God is always with us Joanne and sticking close to my Christian friends and doing more activities at church is the best thing we can do. My daughter is 44, a Christian, a mom that has raised 3 chiildren on ther own, always put the kids first. Sorry, I’m rambling it’s hard . My prayers are you and your family especially your 12 year old. In Christ Alone, Linda McClellan Keep up your art, I enjoy it so much.

  11. Love the quote, Joanne! And the article, so moving. I think the design could be improved by not angling the “I AM YOUR Legacy” and writing the word “Legacy” with an elegant flourish coming off either the L or the g, probably the g. Your dark purple may work well for the word “Legacy”. LOVE the background!

  12. Reading this gave me chills. Joanne your children have such warm and caring hearts. This is a gift from you and Andy.
    I remember them singing at Andy’s service and how beutiful it was. Please add my name to Sam’s list. On your print I would bump up the background color (not as bold as the abum cover), add more contrast to the “I am your” and your heart and swirls, brighten the lower left hand corner to show Andy’s light is still with you. As always you have done a beautful job. Love you.

  13. Happy Birthday Andrew…. Thank you for sharing some of his legacy! This post is brilliant!!!

  14. Reading your post reminded me of the song I wrote after my father passed away, Love Lives In Me, as a way to express that we can never really “lose” those we love since they are a part of us. (That doesn’t mean that we don’t miss them terribly, though!)
    I read through the commentary regarding your cover drawing and it’s so interesting to read all different opinions. I’m in alignment with the ones that call for more color, perhaps extending the rainbow through the title space. I love musical images, as well, and it speaks to this being a song title. I particularly love the use of dangles in your art. Perhaps you could expand that a bit, incorporating other images that embody being a living legacy.
    Please ask Sam to add me to her email list – I would love to hear these songs!

  15. Hello Joanne, I believe in the power of music and would love to hear this labor of love too!!

  16. So excited for Sam and her Legacy project. You are a wonderful family and proud to be your friend and follower, inspired always by your work and kindness. .please add me to Sams mailing list for her Kickstarter.

  17. Joanne, thank you so much for inviting us in to the heart of your family. Please add me to Sam’s kick starter updates email list.
    Regarding the limited edition print, I love the way colors opposite each other on the color wheel vibrate when placed next to each other. Blue and orange, in the right intensity, really come alive and ‘move,’ so I’m suggesting that you might want to play with them and see what you can create.

  18. Beautiful. I read this through tears.
    Suggestiin: a music score across bottom to ground the piece or down the left side.
    The album cover and art piece are lovely. Words and art.
    Thank you for sharing your family with us.~Wendy

Comments are closed.

SIGN UP TODAY For the Zenspirations Blog