Sometimes it's simply an honor to get to do a painting for someone.
Instead of me telling the story for this little painting, I'll just use a few excerpts from some of the 108 texts between Jack and me. Jack was my fourth grade student two years ago, and he's the son of my dear, dear friend and teaching partner, the one I painted "It Is Well With My Soul" for.
JACK: Hey, Mrs. Eaton. This is Jack. I don't know if you know this, but my mom's dad died. I was wondering if you could make a painting for my mom. I'll have to get you a picture of him, and no matter the cost, I'll pay you for it. Just please can you paint a painting of her dad?
ME: Oh, Jack, I'd love to work on something like that for you. We'll talk. I am so sorry. I love you.
JACK: I love you too.
JACK: Just text me whenever you have time for the painting.
JACK: This is probably too soon but it there any way I could get the painting done in two weeks. That's when my mom is going to celebrate her dad's birthday.
ME: Well, let's think a little bit. I looked on his and your mom's Facebook. He didn't seem like the kind of guy who liked to have his picture made much. Also you want something that REMINDS of him not necessarily a portrait. You want something that will make her smile not make her sad. So what about a painting of something he really loved? What would be a symbol or reminder of him?
JACK: He loved birds (except black birds), but he hated squirrels. He loved his garden. He loved nature. He loved old western movies (John Wayne and the Lone Ranger.) He loved his family more than anything.
ME: Yeah... I know... family...
ME: I'm going to send you some ideas. See what you think. I took some photos that he'd put on his Facebook... cardinals, a fire pit, his garden, tomatoes...
ME: He seems to have on a cap in every photo. Especially the camouflage one.
JACK: Yeah, he loved that garden. What do you think my mom would love the most?
ME: The cap... It just says... him...
JACK: Yeah, that would be cool. It really does. Do I need to get you a cap, or can you paint from the pictures?
JACK:Thank you, Mrs. Eaton. Tell me your progress and if there's anything I can do. Love you.
ME: I was thinking of using a really fat canvas then downloading all the photos of him in his caps and with her and gluing those on the sides. What do you think?
JACK: That would be great.
ME: I think it's pretty special.
JACK: Me too.
Original Oil Painting on 9"x 9"x 2" Wrapped Canvas.