This is a hero article, but not a traditional one. There are no explosions or tales of heart-stopping acts of bravery. This is a story about a painter.
Her name is Karen Woods, a quiet, accomplished artist whose work has begun to emerge onto the national stage with showings around the country.
Her skill is unique and mesmerizing. Take a look at this photograph, gazing out of a rainy car window.
Except what you are looking at is not a photo. It is an oil painting. She prefers to focus on what she describes as “streetscapes”, and her specialty (in my opinion) is describing with a brush what it looks like to peer out of a wet window on a rainy day. The water droplets obscure the outside world, but allow a hint of what is there.
But as accomplished as she is, and as beautiful and captivating as her art is, she is my hero because of her heart.
Last year she volunteered her time and expertise to help two people – a visually impaired veteran and the spouse of another blind veteran – prepare their own pieces of art for display in front of 700 people at a black tie event. She selected the appropriate works, coordinated their mounting and framing, and set up the display that evening.
As a result, the two people who both live in the world of visual impairment were able to display their art in a professional, studio-like manner. In doing so, they announced to the world that blindness does not trump talent. And they learned that their own goals are attainable, despite what others might expect.
In a sense, they got a glimpse of what was out there, outside the glass. Like looking through a window obscured by rain.
And it all happened because of the heart of a talented and giving painter named Karen Woods. She is my hero of the week.
Karen’s work will be on display February 23 through March 30 at the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles.