Jan 272013

… from Michael, Robin and me!


Artist Statement - Michael

Artist Statement - Michael








Happy Mothers Day !

Artist Michael J. Johnson (whose story appears in What Kids Need….)  sent a greeting and an invitation to visit Michael’s website.  

Years ago, I bought two small paintings by Michael and, in the process, made a nice connection with his mother, Robin.  As you might imagine, sometimes when I look at them I can ‘hear’ Michael saying “it’s not big deal”!

If there’s something you love send an e-mail and Robin (Michael’s Mom and business agent) will give you a special price for Mother’s Day!


Jan 152013

….here’s a chance to meet some wonderful people and promote a great cause.  As I’ve written before, while writing What Kids Need…. I became friendly with artist Michael Johnson and his mother Robin.  As you’ll see from the note from Robin, Michael’s success continue, as an artist, a hard-working businessman and, as always, someone who gives back.

“Hi Andrea – I thought you might be able to help get the word out about a great event taking place in NYC this weekend.

100 of Michael’s paintings will be for sale at Asphalt Green in New York City October 4th at The Romp for Down Syndrome Research.  Michael will be the only featured artist.

Emily Perl Kingsley and her son Jason Kingsley will be honored at the Romp as the winners of the Romp for Research Recognition Award.  Emily, a writer for Sesame Street since 1970, is the author “Welcome to Holland.”  Jason is also an author and will be signing and selling his book, Count Us In: Growing Up with Down Syndrome .

Ringling Brothers is sending clowns, the Hoop Wizard will perform basketball tricks, the New York Rangers are sending their virtual hockey game show, and there will be a live band.

100 painting is a lot of work and, in addition to donating a large one to the auction, Michael has sent work that will appeal to a variety of aesthetics and pocketbooks.  Original watercolor botanicals and small acrylics of dogs competing in agility start at  only $5!  Additional subject matter includes acrylics featuring children sunflower, horses, and birds.  This time he has added Native American oil paintings for $25.

Bernese Mountain Dog paintings, puppy paintings, golden retrievers and labrador retrievers. His newest large oil painting with dolphins is there, as well as some large wild horse sunset acrylics on full sheets of Fabriano watercolor paper.

It’s free to attend but everyone is asked at the door if they would like to make a contribution to DSRTF (Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation) if they haven’t already done so.
We have a huge outdoor space so the more the merrier.  See www.rompforresearch.com for info.”

Check it out.  Whether you’re an art lover, a dog lover or just looking for a fun event to help a good cause, it looks like a great event.  Thanks, Robin, for letting us know!

Jan 112013
Kaziah Hancock in her studio

Kaziah Hancock in her studio (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)


I have never  met Kaziah Hancock but I know that she has not had an easy life.  It shows.   It’s written all over her work, her face, her generosity ….and her compassion.  A little research affirmed that the Four Foundations had been hard at work.

Kaziah, known as the goat woman, is a survivor – of a difficult birth, a difficult life, and, most recently, of cancer.  Her journey to overcome adversity started on ‘day one.’  One needs to know little about being either an artist or a farmer to see the influences of discipline and hard work on her art.  But it’s her attitude and commitment to giving that makes her story so inspiring.

When it comes to giving, a lot of people focus on what they don’t have.  They sell themselves short.  They believe that one person can’t make a difference.  Clearly, they haven’t seen this story.   One woman made a decision to do something within her power to help heal some of the deepest wounds inflicted by war.

She lovingly paints memorial portraits for parents whose children have been killed in action.What began as an act of kindness from one person to another has grown into  Project Compassion.

In the face of the overwhelming grief, waste and despair that is any war, Kaziah has found a way to bring some love and perhaps some comfort to parents with broken hearts.

See more of her work and learn more of her story at


and at Project Compassion.