Makana: A Tribute to a Friend

Today’s painting is a little different from the usual. It’s not for building up my portfolio, or for a promo piece. It’s not to practice improving my craft, to try some new technique, or to impress anyone. It is to remember and honor a friend in the only way that I know how.

Dear Makana,

Just over a year ago, you went hiking on a Colorado mountain and never came home. Last weekend, a group of us made the climb in your honor. We had a small memorial service, and while we were spreading some of your ashes there was a little Gray Jay hanging out nearby, who just never left us. You know, you always reminded me of a bird–light and carefree, flitting from place to place. A jay is perfect; they’re silly and always causing trouble, kind of like you.

Maybe that little jay was with you, Makana, when I couldn’t be. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you. I miss you. I’m glad you spent your last day in such a beautiful place.

Thank you for being my friend.

Punching the Bag (or What I Learned at SCBWI)
Zoo Doodles. (Zoodles?)


  1. by Jess on June 29, 2012  5:58 pm Reply

    P.S: For friends--if you want a print, let me know. I'm offering the original to Makana's mom for free if she wants it.

  2. by Mike on June 30, 2012  9:18 am Reply

    That is beautiful, Jess.

  3. by Virginia fleming on July 4, 2012  5:37 pm Reply

    Very moving...loved the illustration... Interested in illustrating for my children's book?

    I can't pay til the book sells...

  4. by Melani Holton on July 5, 2012  6:47 am Reply

    Oh how beautiful! Yes I do want it! I can't thank you enough!!!! It is beyond special and so incredible!!!!

  5. by Melani Holton on July 9, 2012  5:52 pm Reply

    This is Makana's mom. I would love the picture!!!

    • by Jess on July 26, 2012  10:36 am Reply

      Sorry for the delay, Melani--I'll get it in the mail to you this week. I've removed your personal info so it isn't out on the internet for all to see, but I have it written down here. Thanks!

  6. by Alice Ratterree on August 29, 2012  7:59 am Reply

    Oh i love this! such a beautiful memory. And I think it can definitely be used in the folio

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.