Look once, and
you'll miss it. Look twice, and it's just another painting.
But if you hold your gaze, you'll discover something else
entirely. This is more than just acrylic colors thrown aimlessly
on a bare canvas--this is a celebration of a life well lived.
Fifteen years ago, Denice Lewis was on top of the world. As a world-renowned super model, she had reached the pinnacle of her profession. For more than a decade, Lewis traveled the globe, lived in the lap of luxury, and enjoyed the exclusive position as the highest-paid catwalk model in Europe.
However, after suffering a series of debilitating diseases, her life would never be the same. In the midst of sickness and uncertainty, Lewis returned to a passion that stayed with her through anonymity and fame--her love of art.
Soon, Lewis found fulfillment in honoring the lives of loved ones by painting with cremated remains.
Growing up in a family of creative
including painters, sculptors and
musicians, it was only natural for her to pick up a brush and create
works of art. Years later, Lewis' abstract paintings
caught the attention of her best friend, who came to her with a unique
proposal. He wanted her to create a painting that celebrated his
mother's life using his mother's cremated remains.
Initially, the idea seemed a bit macabre. Because Lewis knew his mother very well, she questioned the validity of the suggestion. But eventually she began to understand the
painting's importance and decided to pursue it.
"His mother had passed away, and it was something that he wanted. At first, I felt a bit hesitant….like maybe it's something that shouldn't be done. But because he was my best friend, I
agreed to do it," Lewis said.
After completing this first abstract painting using cremated remains, a funny thing happened: Lewis discovered a tremendous amount of public support.
"The next thing you know, so many people find it a beautiful way to honor
loved one…A lot of [them] think it's
interesting, healing and non-offensive," she said.
People from across the country began commissioning her ash portraits. Lewis found the more she painted with cremated remains, the more positive
attention her paintings received.
Soon, her Tribute series earned national acclaim, and the paintings were hung in prestigious galleries in Hawaii, New York, and Los Angeles.
THE PAINTING PROCESS
To commission a Lewis Tribute painting, visit www.denicelewis.com, and click on the Commissions link to send a brief message and contact information. Lewis replies as soon as possible.
This leads to a telephone conversation in which she learns about the loved one's interests and desires. In addition to in-depth conversations, she also looks at family photos, pictures, and journals. In some cases, if travel expenses are covered, she will actually go to the person's home to better capture the essence of the loved one's life.
each commission is based on the
individual, time and expenses vary
from project to project. Estimated completion and
cost of a Tribute painting depend on canvas size, materials used, and
the amount of information included.
For long-distance requests, Lewis recommends mailing a small portion of the cremated remains in secure
receives the remains, she
begins to create a beautiful painting
commemorating the loved one's life. For many, Lewis says this is
the perfect way to say goodbye.
"You don't really want to lose the person that was in your life…so having a piece that you can look at every day and remember them by helps you heal and makes you remember all the fun
during your lifetime together. "People find that very
appealing," she says.
It takes more than a glance, but when you look deeply, you'll discover more than just an attractive work of art. Innovative, therapeutic, captivating-- Denice Lewis' Tribute paintings excite eyes and revive the soul.