Finding strength in art

An artist’s lasting legacy


submitted photo

Story by Victoria Van, editor in chief

Olive green. It’s a color I’ve never been fond of. It’s murky, uninviting and reminds me of a boggy creek. This also embodies how I viewed my life prior to the beginning of the school year. I naturally have a dim outlook on life and there were times where I sought after the bright colors of opportunities that came my way, but ultimately, I would revert back to my pessimistic nature.

My view was then challenged when a tragedy in my life came to fruition: the loss of my close friend Grace Comer. Every color in my field of vision turned into unsaturated grim hues of grey. She passed away during an unfortunate car accident— days after the first meeting of Art Club, the home of our shared passion.

We shared the tears of junior year, the tribulations of our home lives and victories of art competitions. I expected her to show up to school the next day and enter the art building with her beaming smile and a pen tucked behind her ear. The constant denial I experienced when the news first broke caused me to rethink my own life thus far. Grace was a prospective student at the University of North Texas. Her passing reminded me of everything she wanted to do in life: to be an art professor. I was barely planning my next meal. I suddenly confronted the brevity of my own future.

Unbeknownst to her, she’s taught me so much already about the power of friendship. We both loved art and would always ask each other for advice. What color would complement this? What should I add for dimension? We challegened each other because we knew that we could succeed past overwhelming obstacles whether it was conquering AP US History or dominating our annual art contest.

With this, a small family of students in Art Club was forged — a family of paint brush wielders who obsessed over Bob Ross. We went on trips to art museums together, laughed over blowing bubbles and splashed around in water fountains. Now, Art Club will honor Grace’s memory in numerous ways: creating a mural for her in our local hospice, organizing an art show in her name, raising funds for a scholarship for any future art students and honoring her legacy for years to come. I knew how much she loved Art Club, and I will continue to make her wishes come true.

Olive green symbolizes a far more special aspect of my life now— the legacy Grace will leave and what I can do to preserve it. I’ve cultivated the strength of the positive energy she radiated. Life is an array of colors and not just a drowning sea of darkness that I once believed it to be. I will seek out the challenges in life without any doubts and forever bask in the sanctity of chasing my artistic endeavors and academic passions.