I have painted over 100 portraits in the last year. Some were large - Elsie Yanik, Dorothy McDonald and Norm Sutton, some were small - Brian Jean, Jim Prentice and Bono, most were something in between.
If you were to take all the paintings, gathered from owners from near (my neighbour) and far (Michigan), they would absolutely fill a long wall from floor to ceiling. Among them are mothers, fathers, singers, actors, writers, animals and even one motorcycle. Some poured out of me quickly (Jimi Hendrix and Lionel Ritchie), others took hours of intense concentration (The Temptations and The Jacksons).
In that 100 portrait journey I have hit a wall about three times, points when I felt like a project was heading in the wrong direction, when I considered abandoning the canvas. Each time I got to that dark and horrible place I took deep breaths, muttered "trust the process" under my breath, and kept moving forward. Each project has given me more than I have given to it, lessons and learnings that keep me growing and evolving as a mid-life emerging artist.
I have been moved to tears more than once, while painting, as clients see their paintings for the first time, or when I heard stories of how people have reacted to various pieces. The spouse of a celebrity who died recently called me last week to express her appreciation saying that seeing the portrait made her "weep like a baby". Delivering Mike Paskal's painting to his hospital room, surrounded by his beautiful family, is an experience I will never forget. Seeing that same painting at the celebration of his life was equally moving. Seeing a father's eyes well up with tears seeing the portrait of his little girl who passed away shortly after birth was humbling.
I am over 100 portraits into this second act of my creative life, with many more portraits to come. I'm so appreciative of all my clients and those who have been so incredibly patient as they wait for me to begin their projects. An exciting summer of painting lies ahead, including an intriguing workshop that I have planned for Mindcamp at YMCA Geneva Park in Ontario in August. I'm also hoping to add a mural to the collection in our back alley. Stay tuned.
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