Dawn McConnell’s artLast night this world lost a gentle soul, a kind heart and an extremely talented artist. Dawn Phelps McConnell lost her short battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her dear friends and family who loved her very much. Her art lives on as well as her spirit, and we will miss her.

Dawn was an inspiration to me because she threw herself into her art, let it envelope her. I had been a fan long before we met and just a few months ago she was sitting on my couch telling me about her new job as an artist for McMenamin’s. She was so excited. From her story please remember this: appreciate what you have right now, not what you might have in the future. Dawn did, and she was happy. Carpe diem, my friends.

Here is part of the wonderful biography from her web site. You see why she’ll be missed:

Dawn McConnell is a painter, specializing in custom painted furniture and functional art. She transforms tired, old, neglected furniture into whimsical, one-of-a-kind art creations.

She began her art career in the 4th grade, when her drawing of Clara Barton won 2nd place (and $2) in a national Junior American Citizens art contest. Her art education began with a class in high school, which she signed on for when she realized (upon hearing a recording of herself singing) that she would not have a future in music. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Art from the University of Oregon in 1982.

Along the way, Dawn has been a waitress, a seamstress, a graphic artist, a tutor, a schoolteacher, and visual artist. Currently she divides her time between teaching art to children (through the Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Neighborhood Arts Program and Young Audiences’ Artist in Schools program), painting furniture, and creating other functional art.