Joy . 24x30 inches . 2011

1. natural lighting
2. artificial lighting
3. combined UV and artificial lighting
4. UV lighting only
5. no light

Ingredients: acrylic, crushed glass, phosphorescent pigments, Joey's Love, varnish, water & light on canvas.

During the last week of Joey's life, I cleared the downstairs of everything and stopped working. Nothing, no show, no trip, was more important to me than Joey. I wanted him to have full reign of wherever he wanted to go. He spent a lot of time sleeping in the sun. He would stand in front of the screen door and seemed to be looking outside. He was quite blind by this point, so I'm not certain what he was looking at, but it was clear the sunlight appealed to him.

This particular painting was closest to the outside, and I realized he spent quite a bit of time next to it. I let him. Whatever he wanted to do. He and I would lie next to it together, talking, napping. I stroked his face while he slept, telling him how much I loved him, how beautiful he was.

I knew we were destined for each other from the first moment I saw him. I spent years wanting a dog, and months looking for the "right" puppy. I saw many, many litters of them. But the first time I laid eyes on Joey, I knew he was the one. It was fate. Magic.

He was a very special dog. He was the happiest soul I've ever known. Just being around him made you feel like life was awesome. He was thrilled to be alive, every moment of his 15 years. He seemed to look at the world and find it magnificent. You couldn't help but have his joy rub off on you.

A long time ago a friend commented that, "Every moment is the BEST moment in Joey's life." If only we could all live like that.

Our BFF and Best Man Joe, who proudly shared his name with Joey, said this: "As a breed of shepherd, Joey would often gently nudge me from one end of the apartment we shared to another, in accordance with whatever byzantine organization known only to him. Most pet owners tend to project a personality on their pets, but Joey projected his demeanor on you. I was fortunate enough to know Joey, and I cannot stress enough how much of an effect he had on everyone who knew him, even curmudgeonly "non-pet" people. His was as noble a soul as I have come across."

I told Colin, after Joey's passing, that the one thing I wanted to take with me most was the pure joy that Joey lived his life with. He was so happy, and it made me happy to experience it. I tend to be a cynical, sarcastic person myself, but Joey showed me what true happiness was like. If nothing else, I want to remember how joyful he was about everything. Everyone. I still have much to learn from him. His very spirit will change my soul from this day forward, and has since the day I met him.

I'm keeping this painting.

I'd still like for you to come see it this Saturday, though. Not just to appreciate art, but as support for me and an honor to Joey. He was, and is, my hero. If I can achieve even a fraction of the joy he had for life, my entire existence will be a success.