Portrait of an artist as a boy
I've done a number of pieces that might qualify, though they are scattered hither and thither; the portrait of my grandfather or the one of my childhood dentist Dr. Dey might fit the bill. However, the image that came into my mind immediately was a picture of myself as a small boy sitting at the bottom of the stairs with my dog Chico.
There is so much wrapped up in this photo taken by my mother; I am guessing in 1969 or 1970. The first is the obvious: the love of a boy and a dog. Chico was special, and the night he was hit by a car and had to be put down still stacks up as one of the darkest nights of my life. I was devastated. Interestingly, the memory is associated with my grandparents' home as Mom took us there so she could rush Chico to the vet; Dad must have been on the road.
It must have been cool in the house as I am wearing what looks to be a turtle neck and a heavy sweater. Both look very comfortable and warm. The pants are corduroy, also warm.
I was wearing shoes. That is interesting because I have no memories of shoes; in my mind I always wore runners.
The flooring sparks all kinds things. As our family home has been the same for over 50 years, the floor coverings have changed multiple times. I see linoleum on the landing and carpet going up to the second floor. I also see images of dozens and dozens of family pictures that were taken in the years and decades that followed right in this same spot.
Chico is wearing a pumpkin. You'd think I would have noticed that right away wouldn't you? However, I have looked at this picture so many times over the years, the pumpkin just no longer noticed the pumpkin. It stands to reason that this might have been taken on or near Halloween. It also suggests that I might have taken Chico with me as I went trick or treating, he being the pack horse for the load of candy I would have brought home.
I can't get over my smile. If you're a parent, you know how challenging it can be to get your kids to smile on cue. But Mom must have said something to inspire this pleasing and authentic grin. I wonder what it was?
I'm going to try and paint this in the coming days, and hopefully submit it for consideration. I think I'll call it "Portrait of an artist as a boy". If you'd like to do the same, you can find submission information by clicking here. The deadline to submit a piece of artwork that speaks to your childhood memories is December 3rd.