By Kate Day Sager
When Aubre Murphy has picked up a paintbrush over the past year, the work she creates on canvas has been for a child fighting cancer, an individual dealing with epilepsy or a memorial for a grandmother, among others.
Murphy, a 42-year-old self-taught artist, wife and mother of four children in Delevan, has created 180 personalized paintings for recipients, or “Warriors” who have been dealing with health issues or other dilemmas in life. She asks for nothing in return.
“Feb. 3 (2019) was the first painting I gave away to my very best friend,” Murphy recalled, noting the painting was of an elephant, a favorite of her friends. “I posted my painting on my Facebook wall and said, ‘Have some prayers for her, I made her this painting.’”
Within a short period of time after the Facebook post, someone sent Murphy a message noting her son suffered from autism and elephants were the only thing that calmed him down.
“(The child) saw this painting of the elephant for my girlfriend, and (his mother) wanted to know if she could buy one,” Murphy stated. “I don’t sell my paintings and I never have” and shared that with the woman who made the request.
After Murphy rejected the woman’s request, however, she was bothered and remembered she had a bonus check coming from work and would use the money to finance the painting. With that, Murphy created another elephant painting for the child and sent it to the family.
The requests kept coming in after that and Murphy kept painting and mailing the paintings to those who wanted them. The paintings not only have been mailed locally but as far away as New Mexico and California.
“I (figured) I would do it in honor of whatever they are a warrior of,” Murphy explained. “In one case it was autism, in another case it was leukemia, another one was a survivor of childhood cancer and another one is a survivor of domestic violence.”
Murphy said she paints with acrylic on canvas and no art piece is smaller than 20 inches by 20 inches. She has “graduated” to painting 24-inch by 24-inch pieces, and the largest painting has been 5 feet in length.
“I’m doing a five-foot dragon and a five-foot superhero for a child in Arcade named Alex who suffers from Hunter’s syndrome,” she said of Krabbe Disease that killed former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly’s son, Hunter.
While Murphy continues to provide art to those who ask, with packages including gift items from charities and businesses, she was recently laid off from work with a company in Buffalo. While she conducts fundraisers, she is hopeful of raising additional funds to continue the endeavor.
“It’s such a special and unique thing and it’s completely changed my life,” Murphy said of her paintings.
Murphy’s husband, Joseph Stone, who assists his wife in creating the paintings, said he, too, hopes others will help her continue on with this worthy cause.
“She paints these amazing artworks, then ships her artwork all over the United States for free as a gift to warriors fighting cancer and autism or any syndrome they may have,” Stone said. “There are almost 200 people she’s given art to in less than a year, how no one knows about her or is helping her is beyond me.”
For more information on Murphy’s work, or to make a donation, visit her website at www.thewarpaintproject.com or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.