For Jim: “Have Passion. Create. Illuminate.” Part 2

If you read part 1 of my blog about this painting for Jim Hancock (who I referred to as “Mr. X” to not ruin his surprise), this post (part 2) will give you a tour of the 82 layer finished piece. Plus the motivation of why it was created – through the eyes of his friend and business partner who commissioned it as a gift for Jim (No Fear, Art of Sport, Zero One Odysseys, Advertising Age/AdAge Marketing 100, master story teller…)

"Have Passion. Create. Illuminate." 30"x30" mixed-media on canvas, 82 layers.

I first want to share Jim’s thoughts with you. To me, Jim’s words are poetry so I formatted them as such:

“Evoke an emotion in everything you do”

I shared that maxim having appeared in various places thru out my career, but never have I had something impact me emotionally like this piece of art – on so many levels.

it is three days later, and i still shed tears when I experience it. it is truly embarrassing the instant emotional response.

damn you both if i don’t get a handle on it.

my life has been a bit – a lot – out of focus last few years, with a challenge at finding bearings and focusing – and that someone could figure out what was needed so perfectly, and communicate it… and

that someone whom I only knew thru our sharing a very close friend, could interpret the myriad of disparate elements, concepts, people… “things” which make up this terribly out of balance person, and

express it thru such a beautiful piece of art – i am blessed to have been the focus of two incredibly talented friends.

and the reveal evening will never be forgotten.”

– Jim Hancock

Thank you Melissa for sharing why this commemorative painting was so important for you to create for him:

Creating Art – A Journey. My goal was to inspire the inspiring.  That’s not easy but that’s what this art project was about for me…but it didn’t start out that way.

I knew I wanted to commission Beth to create a piece of artwork as a present for my friend and business partner – Jim Hancock.  At first, it was supposed to bring his “common thread” thinking to life.  He’s done a lot of work on the subject (seeing what others do not and finding the connections, the common thread) and it seemed like the right way to bring all of his accomplishments and contributions to the world together.  Problem was…it is HIS.  Try as I did, I couldn’t figure out how to make it work without “cheapening” or “distorting” his concept.  So there the project sat…for about a year.

Then, voila!  I let go…and met with Beth to brainstorm and generally just talk about Jim.  I’d gathered up stories and moments he’s shared with me, collected photos and blog posts, carefully considered adjectives and feelings – and downloaded it all to Beth.  That was an emotional dinner.  It was an exercise that defined my purpose in this painting – to give Jim something he had given me – confidence, appreciation, power and art. Beth sent me away with homework and asked all the right questions.  Theme, structure, story-telling – I left that to the artist to figure out.

A very important woman in Jim's life, Aunt Emma Lou, with his girls Lauren and Emma.

And that’s what she did…Beth came back with quite a few concepts for me to consider.  All of them solid, unique and pushing what’s expected.  I was so impressed with how she sorted through so much information and what rose to the top was exactly right in how it balanced Jim’s past, present and future; his personal and professional contributions – in words and symbols.  I took a week to think on it and chose the concept…but my part wasn’t done.  I had more to collect – words and objects and stories.

Big sister Lauren dressed as Dorothy on Halloween 5 days after Emma was diagnosed with cancer as a small child. 'There's no place like home' has special meaning for them and Jim. Lauren is now a nurse for kids like Emma.

I loved that I was actively involved all the way through the project.  While Beth was laying down the first few layers, I was collecting sand from the Borrego Pits during the Baja 1000 in Mexico.  Jim, our friend Rick and I HAD to drink a bottle of our favorite Tequila so I could deliver the label to Beth as she had requested.

Incorporating the dirt, sand and tequila label from Baja was important for me to capture Jim's "happy place" for him.

Beth sent me photos of the progress while I was in Germany sharing the idea with Jim’s girlfriend so I had help with the unveiling.  I even visited the painting…  Every step made me more and more excited to give this gift.  The blog Beth created was storytelling at its best.  Another piece of the artwork.  Another way to accomplish my goal.

Jim's "Constant Companion" is his shadow. Please read his blog about this amazing concept. I chose this photo of him with his dog Belle who passed away last year. Now with her forever.

To paraphrase Jim's blog, in order to have a shadow one must have brilliance and illumination. Fitting to tie together with the image of his shadow with Belle.

The final preparations and sneaking about were complete.  We arranged a little Christmas get-together and to top it all off, Beth was able to present her artwork.  Thank God.  I spent lots of time thinking of what I’d say to Jim…and never really figured it out until it was time and the words just came out.  I simply told him why and I let Beth give the tour of the painting.

So what did I say that night?  Not 100% sure… But I remember one part clearly.  The biggest contribution Jim made in my life.  He told me it was OK to think differently.  He’s known for doing it and encouraging others to do it.  Me, I knew that I think differently but never in my life did I have someone tell me it was OK, let alone, a good thing.  I didn’t need to conform to the way the rest of the world thinks.  I needed to understand my thoughts and how to act on them to create my happiness.  That’s a huge gift. HUGE.  It changed me and I am finally on a path that is mine.  I wanted Jim to wake up every morning and SEE something that reminded him of how much he is appreciated, loved and truly inspiring.  He needs that.  He deserves it.  It was a gift I needed to give.

So many were involved in this project.  We all completed a journey to get to this done and because of it we found ourselves starting a new journey with deeper friendships, greater understanding, strengthened passions and amazing inspiration…thank you Beth for sharing your talent.” – ME: Melissa Eickhoff

To see the painting come to life, please read part 1 of this blog. (Those aqua swirls are more than interesting shapes. They are deep tracks Jim can feel, symbolic of one of his creations tied to racing and art.)

Jim, thank you for your inspiration.

Jim’s Blogs:,

Photography | Miss Darcy Photography |


About commemoryfineart

I am an artist passionate about helping people share their textured memories on canvas as beautiful decor for their homes, offices and a legacy for their families. Reach me any time to help you get started at 714.305.1915.
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2 Responses to For Jim: “Have Passion. Create. Illuminate.” Part 2

  1. Susan Cooper says:

    You amaze me. It is such a pleasure to see how you are able to put so much of a person and who they are into a painting. He had to be thrilled to have received this. I really need to think about having you do another one for me. :-), Susan

    • Thanks so much Susan. He really was moved. I was overjoyed to be there to give it to him. Words can’t express how much it changed me both in creating it and experiencing the delivery. It would be an honor to do another one for you – I’m thinking more abstract and symbolic this time ;-).

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