A Hundred People. A Hundred Paintings.
A Hundred Thank-Yous – The Inspiration
I have learned that gratitude creates more gratitude. This project was inspired by Hailey Bartholomew, an amazing photographer and filmmaker, and her beautiful vision in 365 Days of Grateful.
I worked for two years to make 100 paintings to 100 people who have had a positive impact on my life. I consciously gave the gift of time, love and creativity. My intention was to transfer thoughtful, heartfelt energy directly to those who receive my artwork.
The list of people I made paintings for includes some of my dearest, closest family and friends. It also includes well-known authors, musicians, and spiritual teachers. I’ve known some of these people for a lifetime and others much less. Some I interact with on a daily basis, while others I haven’t spoken to in years. Still others I only know through the messages they put out into the world and have never met them in person.
Regardless of how I came to know these people, they have all touched me in some positive way and influenced my life to create the person I am today.
I expressed my gratitude to each of them in my own way.
I held an exhibition of all 100 paintings on June 16, 2012 from at the Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman hall. Here are photos of the event!
Photos by photographers Andrew Bartholomew and Tom Dwyer.
A Review of the Hundred Thank You Gallery show by Tom Dwyer
Under most circumstances it would only be realistic to think that “A Hundred Thank Yous” might be enough. Right? This past weekend friends, family, fellow artists and many admirers Lori Portka had never known before the 2 o’clock opening of her one-lady show at the Cazenovia College Art Gallery, couldn’t be blamed if they thought otherwise.
Entering the gallery was like walking into a rainbow, with the proverbial gold in plain sight. For many months Lori’s family, friends and fellow Cazenovia Artisans had been anticipating this day right along with her. All were familiar with her colorful, whimsical illustrations overflowing with happiness, gratitude, kindness and love.
Still, as each entered the gallery, all of a sudden a hundred pieces of art, each saying thank you to someone Lori deemed important in her life, was suddenly real and all but overwhelming. One person at a time, the immensity of her self-imposed task was realized.
The white walls of Reisman Hall served as the perfect backdrop for Lori’s selfless act of gratitude, allowing each colorful creation to stand on its own, yet somehow still connect those around it. Guest slowly circumnavigated the hall, enjoying each of the 100 paintings. Some were drawn by the collection on one wall or another, others to a single expression from Lori’s heart, most taking time to read Lori’s thoughts and feelings about her gratitude for a special person who has touched her life (neatly posted below each painting). It was difficult to pull away.
There were “thank yous” to some of those same friends and family who now enjoyed this amazing collection. Lori had displayed paintings that said thank you to fellow bloggers whose “advise and support” have “motivated and encouraged” her own art as well a nationally respected authors and even President and Mrs. Obama.
Each painting was destined to become special in a certain someone’s life, yet as you rounded the hall the specialness, the magnitude, the creativity and indeed the impact of Lori’s total effort slowly formed their own thank you.
It has been a project she dedicated to her father, who passed away in 1985 yet still occupies a special place in her life. He “would have been one of the first people on my list” of thank yous, she wrote on her blog. And, while it’s tempting to celebrate the completion of her “hundred thank yous” project, it’s doubtful many people left Reisman Hall thinking that anything had come to an end. There is much more to come from Lori Portka, we can be certain.
Thank you, Lori.