Moni Hill

Chris and Keith Pruitt
My eyes craved color and light after Keith died. I ordered the brightest, happiest quilt I could find for my bed, painted the bathroom a leaf green, and raised every shade in the house, discarding privacy for the sake of sunshine.

The year of his illness had been so very dark, and I had lived clamped down in grey, half-living. Bringing in color was my instinct.

A month or two after Keith passed away Corinne and I were browsing the Kress Gallery in downtown Asheville and came across a Moni Hill display. I wanted every single one. I finally decided on a small block with an Emily Dickinson quote on the side, a quote Keith loved by a poet he loved.

As soon as I got home I regretted not buying a dozen, though I couldn’t really afford that many. A few weeks later I went back, intending to buy for Corinne a bright red painting with a blue bird and a quote on the side that reads, “Love…in spite of everything.” That fit her. She loved me fiercely, intentionally, sacrificially, even though she had lost her brother, her best friend. And it was an encouragement to keep loving, even though life is so damn hard sometimes.

Moni’s display was gone from Kress, but the gallery helped me contact her, and when I did, she invited me to come to her studio and shop from there. It turned out that Moni is a friend of a friend, and a delightful person. She was pregnant then with her third child, and she had just painted for herself a tiny bird and the words, “It’s worth it.”

I left with an armload of her paintings, and I have given all of them away except the two pictured here. I keep these two on the ledge of my bathroom window where I see them every morning, bathed in light. The quotes have become my friends, little voices of hope reminding me how to be.

Moni’s paintings are for sale at the Woolworth Walk, 25 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801.

-Written by Chris Pruitt, Keith's wife

1 comment :