I am about to paint the most powerful SoulScape I have ever been commissioned to paint.
How can I know this? Well, meet Tilly, and you’ll know see I mean.
Tilly is a truly remarkable Soul. She was born with a severe life limiting condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). This has not only meant being “confined” to a wheelchair, it means she has a tremendous amount of specialist equipment to do the very basic things that we take for granted. Moving her arms, standing up, eating, sitting up straight, to name but a few.
Saying all this, Tilly has been skiing, been on safari, goes sailing and goes to Ballet every week. She has met the Beckhams, Robbie Williams and Bruce Forsyth (the photos on her bedroom wall are a veritable wall of fame!). all this at 10 years old (the same age as my daughter, Phoebe).She is the first girl with SMA to do a number of these things, and is in the process of writing a little book to inspire children, and the parents of children with SMA to live the full life that Tilly has.
To find out more, about Tilly and SMA visit her blog:
I had the profound honour of meeting Tilly last week to paint her SoulScape.
All of her achievements, are the result of an incredible, unassuming, faith filled, hugely resilient Soul, and the support she receives from her parents, friends and support network.
I asked her what made her feel alive, what she would love to see in a painting, she gave very thoughtful answers, and a little insight into her interior world. But it was Tilly’s presence that spoke louder than words. In Tilly’s presence, you feel awake, alive, and free. She is a true delight to be near.
She lives 100% every single day. She takes nothing for granted.
I was moved to tears when I read what Jackie (her mum) has written on the blog:
“As Louis entered our home he brought with him a wonderful sense of passion and excitement about the project. Tilly took to Louis instantly and they were soon talking together effortlessly, with Tilly telling him all about her favourite things in life. Louis took notes and by the end of the session had made a sketch of what he has in mind for the oil painting he will create. It was beautiful. Louis said to Tilly that he thinks that this will be the coolest painting he will ever do and I believe him - his deep commitment to it is palpable and quite awesome. .
As Tilly's Mummy I find it an incredible honour and quite overwhelming that my little girl's spirit will be captured on canvas by Louis as an eternal inspiration to others. As Louis left last night, as this remarkable project begins, I knew that Tilly's spirit is safe in Louis' hands, for he already has her in his heart.”
So, where do you begin to paint this. Well,
Tilly is not “confined” at all. She is free spirited. She loves to dance, and
so she does. She loves mermaids and dolphins, and one year, at The Caudwell
Childrens ball, she described that her new wheelchair as making her “Feel free, like a butterfly.” This is
what I am attempting to capture in oil on canvas.
So, where do you begin to paint this. Well, Tilly is not “confined” at all. She is free spirited. She loves to dance, and so she does. She loves mermaids and dolphins, and one year, at The Caudwell Childrens ball, she described that her new wheelchair as making her “Feel free, like a butterfly.” This is what I am attempting to capture in oil on canvas.
It will be a huge canvas, as she has a big Soul!
As a result of Tillys words, the event has been renamed “The Butterfly Ball.” And this year, on 20th May, Tillys SoulScape will be auctioned to raise money for Caudwell Children.
Two years ago, the artwork that Tilly created raised over £230,000 for the charity. Last year, it raised £860,000! (That’s enough for 43 of Tillys wheelchairs). It’s a fantastic honour to not only paint this piece but be able to support this incredible charity too.
Find out more about Caudwell children here:
You can see a youtube video of the ball last year.
(you will see Rod Stewart, Alan Carr and a
host of other celebrities!)
(you will see Rod Stewart, Alan Carr and a host of other celebrities!)
So…. I have some pretty big boots to fill. Im
trying to no think about all the external pressures as I approach the sheer
power and beauty of the piece, and stay true to effect that Tilly has on those
So…. I have some pretty big boots to fill. Im trying to no think about all the external pressures as I approach the sheer power and beauty of the piece, and stay true to effect that Tilly has on those around her.
I will keep you posted with my thoughts as I create the piece, and will post a sketch on mine and Tillys blog soon for you to see.
Please take a look at Tillys blog, site to see how you can support these causes.