As I sat with my hand on my growing belly, I began to realize how blessed my life is. I have a wonderful husband, an incredible career as the art teacher at Tesoro High School for the past five years, and was then expecting my first child. As this realization took root, the idea emerged that I should use my blessings, in particular my artistic talent and penchant for fairies, to lend a hand to others. Thus, in 2005, I started a series of watercolor paintings called “Protection Wings” to draw attention to various diseases and difficulties that many people face: breast cancer, melanoma, autism, sudden infant death syndrome, eating disorders, heart disease, bipolar disorder, ovarian cancer, juvenile diabetes, dyslexia, and infant loss or miscarriage.
Each painting is inspired by a true story and dedicated to that person. Each painting is intended to be a source of comfort, beauty, and encouragement for those experiencing the disease or difficulty, with a portion of the profits made from the sales of the image going to a charity that aids people suffering from the same condition. All of the images can be purchased in the form of fine art prints, apparel, totes, mugs, jewelry, greeting cards, and other gift items.
It was as an undergraduate and graduate student at Pepperdine University that I learned the importance of service and realized that I could become an agent of change for the good of others. Not only did I gain the knowledge to be the best educator I can be, but I also learned how to use this understanding to help others. As Dean Margaret Weber said, both my “heart and hands” were prepared at Pepperdine.
To see McElfish’s art, visit www.wendykathleenart.com/protectionwingsart.html.