Remembering Natalie Giles

Over the last three years, I have been invited into some very precious places.  Families and friends going through the difficult journey of loss have asked me to paint portraits of their late loved ones using my bright and crazy colours.  Each time, I pour my heart and soul into it, and use every ounce of skill that I've developed to capture the essence of the person.

Last month, Jami asked me to paint her friend Natalie Giles.  It was a crazy month of commissions and projects that were on deadline, but I always do everything I can to prioritize these very personal and important requests.   I finished Natalie's portrait about two weeks ago; her husband Tyrone dropped by to pick it up today.

I can't imagine how I would function after losing the love of my life, but Tyrone seems to be doing well.  I was able to give him a tour of Birdsong Studio and share an abbreviated version of the story of how I came to be an artist.  He went home and sent me a beautiful note about Natalie.  I asked if I could share his words; he agreed.

Me and Natalie were together almost 20 years. We finally got married this past April. The classic high school romance story. As a teenager I knew there was something special about Natalie and dedicated all my love to her.

To think of Natalie is to think of a selfless, high spirited, intelligent, curious person. Someone who was loved by all.

Always interested in new experiences. Her quick wit and strong perseverance lead her to the top of any challenge she took on. She enjoyed things like mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding and and all out door activities. Reading a good book or yoga were her escapes from reality.

Natalie was a very positive person, always putting her self before others. It didn't take long as soon as you met her to feel something about her was a little different. She had a way of leaving a lasting impression with her gracefully gestures and calm demeanor. Taking the time to listen to anyone who wanted to talk and offered sound and stable advice if needed.

She had love for everyone and everything.

One of the last things she ever said to me was 'go home, and make sure the cats and dogs are fed'. Lol.

Thanks again for capturing that moment and transferring to canvas. I will hold this for the rest of my life. The painting and the act of kindness from everyone involved will not be lost on me and I will one day pay the gesture forward. We had been following your art on social media for sometime. She enjoyed many of your works, especially the animals.

I hope your passion and talent take you to places unthought of.

Natalie had her first dance with cancer when she was 21.  She took her lymphoma diagnosis and beat it within two years.  Two and a half years ago, she was diagnosed with colon cancer.  She passed away in June.

I am deeply honoured that Tyrone shared these heartfelt memories with me, and grateful that he has allowed me to share them with you.  Natalie sounds like she was a pretty incredible person.


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