A son posted his nervous mother’s painting online and it set off a chain reaction of creativity.

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ― Robert Hughes

Great artists tend to live life swimming in a vast ocean of self-doubt. It’s that special blend of insecurity and perfectionism that fuels their desire to hone their craft and get better with each piece.

But that self-doubt can also be paralyzing and prevent potential artists from picking up the pen, paintbrush or guitar.


To encourage his mother to stick with her art, Reddit user Gaddafo shared a picture of his mother, Cindi Decker, a school teacher from Florida, holding a lovely painting she made of an egret.

“My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It's her 2nd painting,” he wrote.

Then Reddit user Cacahahadoodoo asked the forum to take the post a step further. “Someone paint the photo of his mom holding her painting and repost it with the same title for extra extra karma,” they wrote.

Karma is a reward earned for posting popular content on the online forum.

Reddit user u/k__z  jumped on the task and painted a picture of Decker holding her painting.

Then lillyofthenight took things a step further by painting a picture of herself holding a painting of u/k__z holding his painting of Decker holding her painting of an egret.

“Took a while and not perfect, but I painted the guy who painted the other guy's mom,” she wrote.

Then seamusywray stepped in with his contribution and things started to get freaky. “I painted the girl who painted the guy who painted the other guy's mom who painted an egret,” he wrote.

This kicked off a chain reaction that’s come to be known “paintception.”

To keep things from getting too confusing, another Redditor created an interactive tree to show how they paintings relate to one another.

Decker was shocked by the chain reaction and couldn't believe she inspired so many people to paint.

“Even though people say, 'You inspired me to paint,' I don't know that it was so much me. I really give credit to the first artist who painted,” she told the CBC. “You know, I'm not a painter. I'm just somebody who went out and did a little painting thing, so I got lucky to get caught up in all this fun craziness.”

The question is: will the craziness ever end?

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.