Anastasia Chernoff is one of the sweetest women I know. She's an openly loving person and really does say "I love you" almost in place of a normal "good-bye" phrase. I just thought this was part of her nature until I asked her to take a look at my series. I knew Anastasia lives an interesting life and thought she'd be just the sort of person willing to share an important decision. I had no idea what that decision would be until I got her email answer. This portrait is the result.
At seventeen Anastasia and Holly, who was still sixteen, were honor students, members of several school groups, and the sort of best friends that meant every weekend was a "sleep over". Then, Holly got caught cheating on a pop quiz. Her world started to crumble away. She was definitely going to be kicked out of National Honor Society, lose her place as Valedictorian, and kicked off the cheerleading squad where she’d been captain. Her friends distanced themselves from her.... including Anastasia, her very best friend. Pills and a fast car ended her life.... and shock set in for those she left behind.
Anastasia is a talented artist with a gallery space in the Free-Times foyer call Anastasia and Friends. (The Free-Times is Columbia’s weekly, free news publication.) Each portrait is shared with the person who posed before it is shared with others. Anastasia added the following, important sentences: I think about her (Holly) all the time and the lessons she gave me. More than anything, people need to love and feel love. The expression, "Love conquers all," couldn't be any truer. It does. It gets us through the toughest of times. There's never a bad time to tell someone you love them. It's, always, the right time to say those three words.