The Painting That Changed Everything: A Story of Love and Destiny

Waiting - Oil Painting of white horse drinking water with woman dancing

The ding on my phone tells me that Waiting, a large scale 48” x 48” oil painting, has sold. There is a note in the email to call Barbara McCarroll to arrange drop off. I immediately add Barbara’s info into my phone with the word collector at the end of her name as a reminder.

When I call her, she tells me she wants to meet me and John and introduce us to her husband, Ron, because she has a story she wants to tell me. She asks if we can bring her painting to the Porsche dealership in Scottsdale where she is getting her car fixed. She lives in Flagstaff and only rarely comes down to the valley. We make a plan.

The Painting That Sparked a Serendipitous Connection

John and I arrive at the dealership to see Barbara and her husband waving us over to their table in the Porsche Café. As soon as we walk up, Barbara warmly grabs me and pulls me to her with a giant hug. She announces, “I’m Greek too!” She's very excited and animated and says she has a million things to tell me.

She shows me her phone and the painting she bought from me — a woman dancing at a pool of water where a white horse is drinking — is her screensaver. “I knew this was my painting the second I saw it,” she says, turning to Ron and lovingly touching his cheek. “I have been waiting for Ron, my knight in shining armor. I used to be a dancer too!” she exclaims.

I can see she is emotionally moved by all of the serendipities around this painting; I’m reminded again why I am an artist and how much I love this fulfilling career. Barbara begins telling me how she learned about us. “I’m at my friend Marianne’s house. As soon as I sit at her table I can see, way at the end of the room, a small painting that is just pulling me in. I walk over to it and I can just see eternity. I’m immediately in love! I can't even describe the feeling. I ask Marianne, ‘Where did you get this?’ She tells me about you guys and your website, so I start following you and here we are!”

A Growing Friendship and Blossoming Romance 

A few months later, Barbara, Ron, and her grandson are joining us in Greece for an art retreat. This is Barbara’s first trip to the land of her father and one of her first experiences painting. Her passion for art is now growing into creating as well as collecting. Dimitra, along with all the other young women on the trip, is now smitten with Barbara’s grandson. By the end of the trip, I see Dimitra and the grandson holding hands as they walk down the streets of Thessaloniki.

Grandson goes to college. Dimitra is flitting around the country doing art shows as her career takes off. Barbara and I visit each other as often as we can. There are more trips to Greece together as Barbara reunites with her Greek roots and family there. Throughout the eight years of our relationship, there has been loss, tears, laughter, joy, trips, transitions, and tremendous fulfillment. Whenever my phone rings, and it’s Barbara calling, it still says collector after her name.

The Greatest Love Story: A Match Made in Heaven

An art collector has truly become my close friend and one of my greatest supporters. She has taken The Mastery Program, built a beautiful portfolio of work, and gathered her own art collectors and fans. 

Dimitra and Jake Dunn, couple holding their newborn baby

But most of all, Barbara has become my family. The greatest masterpiece of all the art created among us is Zion — my grandson and Barbara’s great-grandson! Yes, as you now know, Dimitra married her prom date, Jake Dunn. Our families rallied heaven for their destiny together and the legacy they will build. Barbara and I locked arms together on the battlefield where souls are won and we contended for the greatest love story every told.

Share your experience in the comments below!


  • Leigh Hooker

    Whenever I read your stories… especially this one I cry. My journey of art practice has been long, since my teens off and on but definitely on for a long time. Waiting is beautiful, magnificent.
    Last night during Covid coughing fits I saw an abstract and then another painting later on. The ideas are there. The confidence to hang in there I draw from you and your family Elli. I can’t thank you enough! I’m selling a few pieces but want to pursue greater success and I will. Love you all!❤️💙

  • Murphy Norma

    Wow! It’s like a fairy tale! Love this story about ART, friendship, family and Love ❤️

  • Annie

    Wow. Thank you sincerely for personally sharing the tangible miraculous, in love personified!

  • tanya

    Wow Ellie you get a medal for telling the supreme tale in three breaths worth. Amazing for a greek story teller who hales from such epic tale tellers! It still had me crying 😭 i’m such a sucker for “happily ever after” They are beautiful and amazing and baby Zion is precious.

  • DeAmicis Karen

    I met my Italian husband on a blind date that my friend arranged while I was a student in Firenze Italy! I really didn’t want to go but she begged me to come so I surrendered. That was 1971 and I am still with my amazing Italian husband!❤️🇮🇹

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