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  • Writer's pictureMandy

Art after loss + new shop art

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

Hey there! Boy, I am so happy January is over. The highs and lows in life sometimes happen all at once. In January, I have had some of my highest highs and some of my lowest lows. The most significant lows were a result of loss, but I have come to realize that the greatest loves and losses open our eyes to new possibilities. To new ways of loving and mourning. To new ways of living.

Losing my Grams and my dog within a couple of weeks has been challenging. For anyone who has loved a grandparent or a dog in the purest form, I’m sure you understand. My Grams was ready to leave, which for whatever reason, made the loss feel a little less intense for me because it was what she wanted, and I didn’t want her to suffer. However, unexpectedly losing my dog was much harder, especially given the deep connection I had to her and my daily routine surrounding her life. Gracie was the type of dog that managed to wiggle herself into your heart. Even people who don’t like dogs, like my mom, loved Gracie. She had this effervescence about her, always alive and spirited. She loved fiercely, and I fiercely loved her back.

Love is such a powerful thing. Love can truly make us better people. I know I’m better for loving people in my life, like my Grams, and for loving my sweet dog, Gracie. No one can replace them, and no one can make it better. Time will make it easier, but right now, it’s hard. I won’t say it’s okay because it’s not okay. Will it be okay? Sure. When? Well, that’s anyone’s guess. The beauty of it all is I’m still going to make the most of the life I have, and I’m certainly not going to let the life I have slip away. I will grieve in the way I see fit in the time frame that I see fit, but I will also LIVE. I get this one beautiful life, and I’m going to live it with the ardor and vigor, my dear sweet Gracie did.

I’ve been talking for years about how I wanted to get a tattoo for Gracie, knowing that it was one way for me to keep Gracie with me forever in a more physical sense. The emergency vet was so wonderful during the process and managed to capture Gracie's paw prints in ink and also as a mold. I know I'll be including her print along with some sentimental things like her nickname, G-money because we went to the vet A LOT! I also want to add a celestial chart because our lives revolved around her schedule. There will also be color!

I’ve been toying around with some ideas for a watercolor tattoo. I’m attracted to the idea of using yellow, pink, and purple because it reminds me of summer and the beautiful sunsets I would experience spending time outside with Gracie.

To process my grief and unpack my emotions, and also to begin thinking about that future tattoo, I grabbed my inks and explored colors.

The beauty of alcohol inks is the ability to free flow and experiment with colors. Sometimes the colors work, and other times it can be a huge mess. I’m never afraid of the outcome – I only feel the colors and my emotions. I wanted to feel happy again. To explore the joy my dog brought to my life and bring a small sense of comfort back into my heart. I think I accomplished that feeling.

Gracie’s Adventure is no longer available but many other pieces are available in my shop. I hope it brings light and happiness to someone’s office or home because it has brought me so much joy.

As you finish out the week, I hope you hold the people in your life close and simply take in the small moments. Life is a blessing.

xo, Mandy

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