Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - Life can be kind and cruel to us all. Louisville artist Jaylin Stewart breaks out the paint during times of trouble.
“It's therapeutic to me. It's still helping me grieve," she described.
In 2015, her cousin Demond Ramsey was shot to death. He was her first painting. It's her way to cope with loss and it's the way she wants to remember him.
Last year, she began to paint the faces of the city's fallen, and she hasn't stopped.
“To help heal families and bring peace to families and friends of these victims," Stewart told WHAS11 News.
Sadly, this year, she says the victims are becoming younger. Her latest painting is of 8 year-old Aairden and 10 year-old Avery Hooper, brothers who LMPD says were shot and killed by their mother in August.
Likely her most popular painting is of 7 year-old Dequante Hobbs, the seven year-old who was shot in May. A stray bullet entered his home, killing him while at the kitchen table.
“These are babies. They aren't even pre-teens. They're babies. They don't have any obligations. They're innocent lives. They're innocent souls," Stewart said.
She sold the painting at an art show earlier this year. An anonymous buyer paid it and gifted it to Dequante's mother. We were there as Stewart hand-delivered it.
“It looks just like my son," Michesia Norment said with a smile.
The painting also came with a handwritten note for a special message. “May this painting of your beautiful son Dequante let you know that his spirit is always with you. God bless, and we pray for you," Norment read.
It's a simple gesture that started with a simple stroke of paint that's now creating a life-long bond between a mother and an artist.
“Keep putting love, keeping putting life, as much live and life as I can inside these portraits," Stewart said.