Alexandra Ramsey spends her free time painting local businesses, schools and the occasional portrait and then simply gives them away. Photos by Andrew Noles

Love is alive and well in the heart of this special artist

By ERIN COGGINS

MADISON – Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, is synonymous with the word love. And love is more than romance. Love is patient, love is kind. Love is alive and well in the heart of Alexandra Ramsey. And she enjoys nothing more than spreading that love.

Alexandra, a quiet 22-year-old who loves plaid, Twix candy bars, stuffed animals and the Netflix series “Wednesday”, spends her free time painting local businesses, schools and the occasional portrait and then simply gives them away.
“Giving them away gives me joy,” Alexandra said. “I do it to spread kindness. I like painting. It’s one of my favorite hobbies.”

When Alexandra first came up with the idea, her mother, Kelly, was on board 100 percent. She says after taking a painting class while a junior at James Clemens High School, Alexandra got on a roll.

“She came to me and said, ‘Mom, I just wanna do this for people,” Kelly said. “And she does it out of the goodness of her heart and because she enjoys it.”

Culver’s, Wendy’s, McDonalds are all beneficiaries of Alexandra’s work. Since her first painting captured the beauty of a banana split sundae, ice cream became an object of her artwork. A subject that did not surprise Kelly.

“When she was a toddler, she kind of got her start playing with ice cream,” Kelly said. “She would sometimes put it on the window of the car and was like designing with her fingers–even when she was three years old. I had a feeling that she would be creative. She liked to work with her hands and make little shapes with Play-Doh.”

Alexandra painted a canvas of her alma mater but also captured Sparkman High School in acrylic, her favorite medium. She says the school’s interior is pretty and she wanted to paint it. She gifted the large painting to the school’s front office, leaving it in the hands of bookkeeper, Heidi Fowler.

“When she presented us with the artwork, she was so quiet, but you could see that she was happy,” Fowler said. “She told us she thought our building was pretty. It was during the summer, but she had a small audience. We have fought over who gets it, but I think one of our SRO’s has claimed it for her office.”

Kelly is her partner in this endeavor, driving Alexandra to locations to drop off her gifts, sometimes accompanying her inside and sometimes waiting patiently in the parking lot.

“It makes me happy to drive her around to deliver her artwork–it’s delivering joy to other people,” Kelly said. “I’m just kind of her sidekick. I want her just to be; to have all the credit because she is the one who works hard. I’m just on the sidelines.”

As the sidekick, Kelly also mails Alexandra’s artwork to people and places out of state which Alexandra funds. Due to being a military family, the Ramseys have lived in several states. Alexandra often paints scenes from the places she has lived or visited and has those pieces sent to prospective recipients. In fact, her next project will be sent to Pittsburgh.

“We visit family in Pittsburgh and there is a candy store there we visit,” Alexandra said. “I want to paint a picture of the founder, Frank, who passed away.”

Alexandra creates her masterpieces in the family’s garage where she has a desk full of her supplies, including her favorite acrylic paint Apple Barrel. She prefers the quiet the garage offers.

“She likes the garage, not only because her art things are in there, but she likes quiet environments,” Kelly said. “I think it helps her too with not getting sensory overload or anything. Like Alexandra said she experiences noise sensitivity and overstimulation sometimes.”

Willing to paint anything she sees, Alexandra is never in need of a subject. Her approach is simple–if she is out and about and sees something that inspires her, she gets to work. Even painting people.

“I painted a portrait of Mayor Finley,” Alexandra said. “I presented it to the people in City Hall, but the mayor was not there. They thanked me for it.”

Her technique begins with a picture in her mind, then utilizes tracing paper to capture the image on canvas or wood, followed by blending her colors. She says the total time spent on anyone painting is 40 minutes.

“She will just be zoned out completely on what she is doing. She knows exactly what colors she wants to use,” Kelly said. “She is very focused and will not stop until she is finished. She just looks at stuff and just brings it to life. I’m like ‘whoa,’ I could never do that’.”

Before gifting her masterpieces, Alexandra adds her unique signature that includes a heart.

Besides acrylic painting, Alexandra also puts her artistic ability to use in creating art through graphic design, script writing and songwriting. She says her graphic art usually derives from her dreams.

“I dream about flying a lot, so the art I do on the app has me flying,” Alexandra said.

When she is not painting, Alexandra works three days a week at the Rose of Sharon soup kitchen where she sorts through donations. And yes, she has painted the building and will soon paint the cat, Percy, that roams the building.

“She’s very protective of that cat,” Kelly said. “It’s just who she is. She’s very calm and cares very deeply for both people and animals.”

And it’s that kind heart–that love–that defines Alexandra. It’s that kindness that hangs in the front window of Kroger’s, the Toyota Field grounds, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

“Alexandra really feels and loves hard. And I think that’s also why she enjoys so much doing what she does with the painting because she just really, really enjoys making people happy,” Kelly said. “And I tell her that I feel she lives up to her name which means helper and defender of mankind. And that is what she honest to goodness does.”

 

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