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Woman seeks mother’s lost painting

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Woman seeks mother’s lost painting

Levi Hill/News-Sun

Of all the things Carolyn Miller was — mother, wife, Christian, giver — perhaps the thing that most defined her was her love of painting.

It is her painting that Carolyn’s daughter, Donna Navarette remembers most about her mom, who passed away in January at the age of 81 after a long battle with congestive heart failure.

“She loved to paint. She loved the work of Lee Bogle. She loved to do southwestern paintings, cowboys and horses,” Navarette said of her mother. “She loved going to church. She went to Hobbs First Assembly.”

Donna’s father, Jack Miller, is something of a minor celebrity in Hobbs because of his incredible talent working on diesel motors. He worked for Rust Tractor for years and later had his own business, JC Equipment.

Since losing her mother, Donna has turned to painting to feel connected to the parent she lost.

“I started painting about a year an a half ago. I had never painted before. Never taken art,” she said. “When I am painting, I can kind of almost hear her telling me, ‘No, don’t do it that way. Do it this way.’ Painting has helped me deal with everything that has been going on as well.”

But what she most wants is to once again own her mother’s most prized painting — a homage to Bogle’s work — of a Native American woman walking in water in golden sunlight.

Bogle, a world-renowned artist from Washington State, is known for his Native American pieces.

“I have some of her paintings, but that one I would really like to have back,” Donna said. “It was her pride. It was her favorite painting she did and she spent the most time on it and was very proud of it.”

Carolyn’s painting was done on an oval canvas about 24 inches tall and sometime around 2006 she entered it in the Lea County Fair and won first place.

“But when she went to pick it up, it was gone,” Donna said.

The theft of the painting broke Carolyn’s heart and she died still wondering what became of it.

“It was very beautiful. I would like to have it for sentimental reasons. I can’t explain why, but it feels like it is a part of my mom,” Donna said. “I believe in miracles, I have seen so many and I am just hoping for a miracle on this painting.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the painting may contact Levi Hill at 575-391-5434 and he can put you in contact with Donna.

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