But my parents, Dale and Bonnie Keller, are the driving force. They always told me how proud they were of me and that one day I would become famous. Both of my parents really encouraged me to grow in my skills and my mom continues to do so. Even though my dad is no longer here, I still feel his encouragement. This page is a dedication to you dad, I miss you so much every day.
Dad worked as a pipeline worker with OJ Pipeline, and he was a true inspiration to everyone that knew him. Dedicated to his family, his work, and his passion for the outdoors, he spent every opportunity he had outside teaching me how to fish, hunt, trap, or simply observe nature. Diagnosed with MS when I was just 7 years old, life as we knew it completely changed. My dad passed away in 2004 after a 15 year battle with multiple sclerosis.
As a result, my childhood and adolescence was a tough time for the family, financially and emotionally. I found it so hard watching my strong, independent father gradually loose his abilities, and pouring myself into my art helped me deal with the stress and sadness of his illness over the years. I think if I hadn’t had to deal with him being sick, I maybe would have been side-tracked and possibly gone off the course of painting in my teenage years.
Some of my paintings symbolize a very special connection between my dad and I. White Spirit was the last painting he saw before his passing, for that reason, I will never sell the original of that piece in particular. Two weeks after I started this painting he passed away-suddenly everything in my life stopped. Months passed before I could even sit down to paint again. When I returned to the white wolf painting, I knew I would dedicate it to the memory of my dad, which is why I called it “White Spirit”. This wolf has a strongly focused look in its eyes; you feel as though it is watching you. I believe that wolves have strong spirits that can dominate almost anything. I believe I tapped into the wolf’s strength as I completed this painting-almost as though it dominated me & helped me face the hardest moment of my life.
Secret Guardian is a special moment painting. This is the first of three paintings that I plan to do; after the death of my dad, personal encounters with these creatures gave me much needed inspiration. This painting holds a special place in my heart; it was a strong message, an answer to my question that I was finally able to understand. Several evenings after my father passed away, I remember walking outside our home in the country on a night that was unbelievably silent. Many people told me that my father was in a better place now, and that he was safe, but I did not know if he was or if they were just merely trying to ease my pain. I recall breaking down in tears, and asking out loud, “Dad are you really safe? Is everything really ok?” Instantly my heart stopped at the sound of this owl calling out. I returned to the house and asked my family to come outside and listen to this bird. I will remember and speak of this memory for the rest of my life. It was such an emotional moment.
Alberta Dawn is a proud moment painting that I know my dad was looking down over me for. In 2010, I painted this piece for the Safari Club International Northern Alberta Chapter. (SCI supports hunting and conservation around the world.) The painting was live auctioned at the evening event and it sold for $12,000.00. It was an incredible experience to have painted the highest selling item of the night and to have received a standing ovation from the 400 people who shared in that moment. I couldn’t help but to tear up thinking that my dad would have been so proud of me. Being an outdoorsman himself, he taught me so much about outdoors and wildlife that lead me to that very moment.
Years have gone by since the day my dad passed away, and each of those years have been so painful without him here. But I know that he lives on through me and my family and I am so grateful for
that, and for all that he taught me. For as long as I live I will continue to share his story. The impact he had on my life continues to inspire me to this day. I love you dad. I thank God for you, this is for you!
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