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.