Saturday, September 27, 2014 Illustration
A portrait created as a birthday gift for my godmother. The image is of her mother, Anne Marie Jenkins. While on a trip to the hospital to visit Mrs. Jenkins, I began to sketch her while she and my mother and godmother visited. At the time Mrs. Jenkins was terminally ill and 80 years old mother; she was in the hospital with pneumonia. At her directions, I was taking great pains to leave out the bruises on her face from a recent fall when Mrs. Jenkins said, “Get rid of my wrinkles and give me more hair.” Out of a sense of self preservation, I changed the piece to look like a familiar photo of her at thirty. Later at a gathering, I watched her proudly show it off. “Oh, this is you when you were younger,” her friends said. “Oh no,” she beamed, “This was me two weeks ago in the hospital.”
Thursday, January 30, 2014 Illustration
The portrait of Miss Sarah McLeod was produced for Mrs Sibley Wheeler nee Fleming, a family friend, as a surprise for Miss Sibley’s sister. Created from a tattered black and white reference photo with verbal descriptions of the dress and the woman's affinity for sun tanning. This portrait that I created when I was a teenager, gave me one of my first glimpses of the intense emotions my work could generate. Upon receiving the painting, the sister held it like it was fragile and delicate, tears in her eyes, “That’s the color I remember of Mama’s hair. I’ve always told myself I could remember the color of her hair.” A heartbreaking pause, “You know, Mama died when I was four.” Until then, I didn’t realize that I was producing the only color photo these women had of a mother lost too soon. The wave of emotion my art produced was intense and new to me.