Pursuing Excellence: Living Well

Artist Bob Askew, from Swanee, TN, first studied with Lee in 2004.  Bob was an instant friend, one of those people God planted in Lee’s life to give him strength for his calling and journey.  Bob was a tremendous source of encouragement.  He invited Lee to teach several workshops in Swanee which were all well attended thanks to Bob’s efforts. 

While I was down in Swanee attending a writer’s retreat this past September, Bob gave me a letter he had written to our family, remembering how Lee had touched his life.  Here are some excerpts from that letter: 

I would like to say a few things about Lee — how my contact with him has affected me and given me tools for life.

The most striking is the idea that one’s life, career and faith should all be combined. Lee lived his life honestly, and his faith was clearly reflected in his work and in his teaching, qualities I believe are certainly worth emulating.

He also believed in pursing excellence in what he was doing. His commitment to doing things well began with materials and carried through in every aspect of his painting approach. He taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner and to pursue excellence every step of the way.

Finally, I learned about endurance through my times working with Lee in his painting workshops. He was tireless, and always wanted to do another painting even after having worked hard all day, when it would have been easy to stop.

I will remember Lee’s love of life and of people and his gift of teaching forever. I am grateful for having known him and for the opportunity to learn from him, not only about painting, but more importantly about how to be a good friend, and how to live life well.

Demonstration during a fall painting retreat at Watersong  -- Bedford, Virginia

Demonstration during a fall painting retreat at Watersong  -- Bedford, Virginia