Dad finds purpose in painting in challenging times, grief

By Becky Holland
ATHENS, GEORGIA: Richard Christopher Smith, age 49, has posted on his Facebook page several pieces of art that he deems are ways to “celebrate life” and are his way of “painting with a purpose.”

“We are God’s creation, and that is reason enough to celebrate,” Smith stated.

Painting, he said, “has allowed me to communicate that he realized our lives on Earth are not our final chapter.”

Smith said, “Painting with a purpose has always been a goal of mine.”

“I used to paint animals all over the world to speak up for them,” he explained.

Then his 17-year-old son, Josh died, and “I realized how connected we are to one another as humans.”

Smith and his wife, Jill, whom he met in Athens while attending the University of Georgia, had four children. A graduate of Middle Georgia College with his associate degree in art, he received his bachelor of fine art degree in graphic design from the University of Georgia and later received his master’s degree in special education from Piedmont College in Athens.

He said, “I am currently at home as a job assisting my daughter to get through high school through the Georgia Cyber Academy.”

Smith reflected on his son’s death. “Josh died of a massive heart attack … His last words as I was with him at Athens Regional Emergency waiting room were, calmly stated, ‘Dad, I’m not going to make it.’”

“However, given the lesson I learned from his death that we are connected, I beg to differ with him. I believe the veil between life and death is thinner than wet vellum!”

When you see Smith’s artwork, and on this page are just some examples, you see more than color, lines and shapes, you see a message.

And we are so thankful that he is painting that message.

(c)Becky Holland 2020
Paintings (c)RichardChristopherSmith

Author: rlhwrites

Curator of prose and such.

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