Sunday, November 1, 2015

Guest Blog Post

Me and Wyanne

I found Wyanne, while my journey into mixed media was still shiny and new. Do you remember the first time you saw her work? I do. Another wonderful artist was asking her circle of support to send love and prayers and light to her friend, Wyanne. Apparently this lady was in the beginning of a journey as well.

She had been diagnosed with the “big C” of the oral variety. On a whim, I thought, ‘let me reach out to this lovely lady. Let me send her healing light, prayers and the occasional chuckle. And I sent that friend request off, and to my delight, she accepted.

And then I explored her work, finding even older works from her Diva series.

 The one thing that I find still rings true, is that she is constantly evolving. And like so many other wonderful people, I began to follow her journey from that grueling surgery to every last treatment and scan. I will always be ever-so-grateful for Danny keeping us in the loop, when he himself was bone tired, coasting on fumes.

I began to collect some of her work, it seemed deepen the connection. I put one of her pictures where I would see it first thing in the morning and lastly before I fell asleep. Everyday I would take the time to send love and prayers to Wy.  And man, I really loved to watch her paint. Then I took Art Play and watched every bit of her YouTubes, until her inspiring course, You&Me began.

And what keeps coming to mind is how much courage our friend here has. She is a warrior, a true brave soul wink emoticon. The second thing that I found is my new found respect for time. Ever-so-fleeting, we are only given a collection of moments to do with what we please. With so much out of our control, it is up to us to make the most of our gifts and talents. So, yeah, I have learned a lot from our girl.

When Wyanne announced that she was taking a step back from teaching and shared how afraid she was of letting this go, I felt the need to reach out once again personally to give her my love, support and encouragement. And late one evening, I did it. I invited her to visit. My family lives in one of the most beautiful places in the north Georgia mountains, and we love to share it with special people.

North Georgia Mountains

I happen to live near one of my dearest friends and former art professor (even though I was an education major, I managed to squeeze one of her classes in). She has a home on a river up here and I just knew she would love to meet Wyanne Thompson. And being the kind lady I love, she welcomed Wyanne and Danny with open arms.

I’ll be honest. I was completely ready to give them complete privacy, as it was their anniversary. I was not expecting to get to spend as much time with her as I did. That weekend was one of my favorites so far in life.

I got to get to know the two of them, take them to my favorite local art store, and most special to me, was sitting by the river with my daughter, my friend and neighbor Susan, and Wyanne while Danny fished.

Danny teaching Annabell to fish

When I was sitting and talking to Danny about my affection for his wife’s work that first night, he said, “so, you are kind of a fan.” I believe my reply was, “um, yeah. She’s kind of a big deal.”

And getting to go shopping for supplies with Wyanne, was the COOLEST THING EVER!! And I made sure to tell her a few times. There was a moment when I noticed a lady eavesdropping on our conversation about Pebeo Fantasy Paints. She had a sweet smile, and two little bottles of teal paint and a palette knife. By the looks of it, she was taking her first steps in her own artistic journey. Between the two I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for where I am at this point in time, creatively speaking.

Debra, Wyanne and Susan

Then on that magical Sunday afternoon, I sat and played in paint with three of the most special ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing. There was this one moment when my little girl started to really lay the paint on thick and adding lots of water to see what would happen and I started to say something about it turning to mud. When Wyanne told me to just shut up, and she was right. My Annabell, had it right all along, when she kept telling us to “just go with it.” I think she and I have a lot to learn from both of our daughters, and that was the best advice I have ever been given as a parent and an artist.

I could go on and on about my friendship with this amazing, badass friend of mine. And she will tell you that I have a lot to say. But I am learning to stop and listen, to everyone around me. You see, we all tend to go through life making connections with others, some are so significant that we tend to handle them with much more care. While some, we tend to take for granted. I hope everyone has the chance to get to know and love someone that they admire and respect, the way I do Wyanne. There were a few moments, when I thought, why would she want to know me. And then, I hear her saying to me, “just shut up".

Debra Whiteside PaffPin It


  1. Awesome Sauce !!! Thank you for sharing.... Love Love Love !!!

  2. Beautiful the way friendships are born frlm the love of art. Thanks for sharing your special story.

  3. Definitely a beautiful post and a touching story. Grateful you extended the invitation and that Wyanne said yes. And sometimes, a well-timed shut-up is just what is needed. XO

  4. So beautifully and joyfully expressed! I feel the same way about Wyanne and your words have made me cry with appreciation. Really glad she has such wonderful women in her life.

  5. I'm thankful every year for the strides they have made in helping people fight the big C. Right after I was born in 1951, my mother and I lived with an aunt, uncle and their two young kids. My father was in Korea. Those two young kids became my favorite cousins. Unfortunately, Barb, the oldest, lost her battle to oral C. Shortly before, her brother Mick lost his battle to lung C. Being able to read about Wyanne's battle and winning it has been very therapeutic to me, since I really miss both of my cousins. My wife had breast C 10 years ago. It would be so wonderful if they could find a cure once and for all!!! Until then, we'll keep watching Wyanne's badass journey through her art. It gives all of us hope.


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