Doodles on a page are forever frozen in time, as what was once a quick scribble from the mind of an aspiring artist, now draws fond memories for the family of Amanda Halse. Her sister, Karina Halse, says it is a piece of her she will always hold dear.
"Amanda liked to take things that people wouldn't normally see as beautiful and make them beautiful," Karina said.
The 26-year-old was in the limo celebrating a friend's birthday when it crashed in Schoharie, killing 20 people. Her family was left in the dark for 24 hours before they were notified of her death. Four months later, her art is the light in their lives.
"It's like having her here still, and we hold that really close to her hearts," Karina said.
Her mom says Amanda had a crayon in her hand before she could talk. It wasn't a second thought when she entered Amanda's work into a tshirt contest at 518 prints in Troy. It was something Karina says Amanda would never do on her own.
"She kept her stuff private and gave it to close friends," Karina said.
When the shop owners scoured their entries, one caught their eye. Amerlia Valero-Brust recalls being taken back after recieving the email submission. The water color self portrait inside won them over.
"You can tell she lived and breathed this stuff. She couldn't not create."
Amanda's passion, two simple drawings, were printed on 60 different shirts as part of the winnings. Valero-Brust says the art represents much more.
"[It's] a flame coming out of a single matching, just casting outwards in all directions. It is almost like this message about eternity."
Even as paint fades and pages yellow over time, it is a piece of Amanda that will live on forever, says Karina.
"I'm so glad she was able to illustrate the way she saw things so it can always been seen by everyone."
The family says the shirts will go to Amanda's family and friends. They will also go on sale at Apple Barrell store, the site of the crash. The proceeds will go to the Reflections Memorial Foundation to fund a permanent memorial at the crash site.
Karina Halse, Amanda Halse's Sister
"I have a piece of her with me forever"