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Written by Janice Gurshin as told to her by Christopher Gurshin

  During the years of our life together, Janice and I have had the good fortune to meet a generous number of wonderful people.  One such occasion brought a visit from a dear lady, Lillian Miracle, and her daughter Sandra, from Loveland, Ohio, who visited the gallery last fall.  During the course of conversation she learned that I liked to collect old boxes, sometimes painting and decorating them.  Her husband Paul was also an avid box collector and she told me that she would like to share some of them with me.  Sometime later, true to her words, a package arrived with a few boxes. 

   Upon examining them, one caught my eye, a slim wood box with a sliding top, similar to a pencil box.   Measuring 7 ½” x 3”, it was made of hard wood with a faded stamp of Paris France on the top.  Sliding it open, I was delighted to find it was an old paint box. It held three rows of four tiny compartments holding loose tablets of colors, with two white porcelain mixing cups on each side.  The color tablets were stamped with raised letters depicting the colors in French. A few tablets were a bit worn but most looked like they had been hardly used.  How interesting!  But the best was yet to come.  Turning the box over, written on the back in faded pencil, were the words, “To Johnnie from his Mother August 18, 1873.”  What a special box indeed!  Immediately my mind began to think about those words and I wondered what paintings Johnny might have done?   I was drawn into wanting to somehow bring those paints to life again.  A tribute to their specialness.

   After much thought, I sat down and completed ten miniature water color paintings using these precious Johnnie’s paints.  I can’t tell you how honored I felt using such a special piece of history.  Others thought the same and all but the three I wished to hold on to were sold.  One will be permanently stored inside the box along with a copy of this story.  Johnnie’s paints are back at rest, I will not use them again.  As time goes on, the box will have yet another owner.  Will they feel the same honor that Johnnie’s paints brought to me?  I must hold on to the belief that they will.

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