Thank You For Being A Friend - Betty White's 100th Birthday

Thank You For Being A Friend

There are people who pass through this world who are cool without even trying. People who use their talents, status, resources, time, heart and celebrity to make this world a better place. So classy, grounded and disciplined.

Betty White was one of “those” people. Today is her birthday. 100 years old and sparkling all the way. Though her career accomplishments right up to the end were mind blowing as her chronological age escalated, I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been sometimes to act along with people likely 40 plus years her junior. She probably thought about keeping up and maintaining excellence in her craft. Yet, she did it. She was one of those “the show must go on” gals and her years of seasoned skills and hard work seemed to groom her for a career that in these times would be unheard of. Her younger colleagues appeared to have not only worshipped her, but learned from her loving approach to life.

I am touched by how she gracefully embraced the seasons of her long lifetime. Marriage, divorce, finding the love of her life and losing him, being cast for multiple iconic roles and characters and certainly her philanthropic work with animals all over the globe. Betty was big on expressing gratitude in interviews. A great reminder to all of us.

Upon researching her 8 decade long career, I learned that her initial career goal was to be a forest ranger. At that time, women were not allowed to serve as rangers. I’m guessing wildlife and nature were deeply settled in her heart from the get go. As she waited her turn, she found a way to later embrace that seed she had tucked away in her heart by blessing all creatures great and small. If I were to share everything she accomplished from her days of daydreaming about becoming a forest ranger to her final moments, this blog would be as long as War and Peace. We all know how much she did and how much she blessed us with laughs and her glowing spirit.

If life was a road, I’d say Betty’s was bountifully traveled. Navigating the twists, turns and often wretched surprises of show business. She was checking off her bucket list from birth. Successful actress, found the love of her life, put her love for animal welfare into action, remained relative and adored by every age and every walk of life. People just seems to melt in her presence. Betty is pure pop culture.

I looked through lots of pictures of Betty when considering this likeness. Her intense bone structure and beauty require much detail in an artist’s rendering. I kept going back and forth between so many pictures reaching to capture whatever it was in her that needed to come out. It was her sparkle. She had lovely cheek bones, eyes, neatly well-coiffed hair, million dollar smiles and a beautiful neckline. But it was the sparkle I wanted to bring front and center. I tried to calculate what her age was in the picture I chose to work from. I’d estimate mid 50’s. All of her pics are beautiful, but there was something about that phase of her life that I believe piqued in her beauty. To look like she did even at that age was to have hit the genetic lottery.

This painting is watercolor on canvas panel. 8x10. I wanted so badly to complete and release it on her 100th birthday January 17, 2022 and remind everyone of the #bettywhitechallenge. I made it! While doing it, I thought about Betty’s example. So many people of celebrity status aren’t mindful that someone is always watching. Someone is not only watching but following by example. Betty’s life was a beacon of light, hope and love. And to this day, we can’t take our eyes off her.

Today is January 17th, 2022, Betty’s 100th birthday. It had been suggested that you contribute just $5 to your local animal shelter. If you can do more than $5, mo’ better. I will accept the challenge today in honor of Betty's 100th and I hope you do too. Wouldn’t it be cool if this challenge lived on annually as Betty’s birthday came around again? Yeah, it would. Betty would want it that way.

Dear Betty, Thank You for Being a Friend.

Sincerely, The Smith Girl