Oil Painting at Smith Mountain Lake Stirs Emotion With Backstory

Smith Mountain Lake, VA - A piece of art is stirring up a lot of emotion at Smith Mountain Lake. It's an oil painting of a girl and her horse, and some that come to see it leave in tears.

The painter works out of her own antique shop called Black Horse Manor Antiques.

Lisa Dabareiner loves horses. One day on the Proper Cobs Facebook page, she came across a photo that stole her heart.

"The photograph was so emotional in the first place. I mean he's protecting her and she's loving on him," said Lisa Dabareiner. "It said 'This is my daughter Imie. She died 3 weeks ago. '"

Imie, a 6-year-old from London, had recently drowned trying to save her friend who fell in a river.

"It's one of those things that makes you go, What? I kept following it and it just got more sorrowful every second," said Lisa.

She quickly messaged Imie's mother.

"I said the photograph touched me so much and then your story touched me way more and I'd like to do this so you have a memory of your child."

Twenty-four hours after seeing the photo, Lisa got to work inside her shop window. Friends and customers were drawn to it.

"People are really intrigued by it when they come in. They definitely ask a lot of questions," said Marli Dabareiner.

"I tell them the story, and two people have started crying," said Lisa.

The painting is roughly 3 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide. When she's done, she's going to send it to Imie's mother in London.

Lisa hopes to one day meet her in person.

"It would be kind of nice to give her a hug. Because I send her hugs all the time on Facebook."

It was only two weeks ago that Lisa first saw the picture. She has already planned a trip in September to visit Imie's mother.