Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 12 - June 12 - Rowdy's Memorial Service, Later This Afternoon

She may be gone from her friends and from this earth, but I know in my heart that she will be close for those who knew her and see this portrait. I'm through with it now, and it was as though in painting her, I was releasing my connection to my loss. That sounds selfish to say, but please know that to me, letting go is one of the most powerful and freeing events one can have. It's a closure.

You can see from the finished portrait that I did nothing to erase the life she lived, and it is fairly easy to see her approximate age. This was intentional--Rowdy made no bones about her life and character, and my mission as an artist is to not gussie up the people I paint by doing the "cosmetic surgery" thing with my brushes. I painted her strength, and yet I think I also captured her gentle spirit.

I'm chuckling, though, because Rowdy would have hated to be painted and I have to say I thought I could hear her yelling at me while I was doing it! This painting will be publicly displayed only once, this afternoon, at March Field Air Museum, where her memorial will be held. She worked there as a volunteer coordinator and loved the planes!

A 20 x 18" acrylic on canvas, it will be in the loving hands of Ruth and Ace Atkinson in their new home in Tijeras, New Mexico, next month.

For those of you who have lost loved ones, I offer a small book by Ted Menten, "Gentle Closings, How to Say Goodbye to Someone You Love" as a way to get through the hard times. It has helped me immensely in the loss of both parents, and allows me to gently understand what we feel when we've be left.

In talking about this portrait, the finishing layers of paint show best in the white garb of her "gi", and in the layers that are in her hair. There truly isn't a better way to see how I paint in acrylics if you'll spend time seeing those layers that end up looking like hair and fabric.

Today I start the mural mosaic process for my two panels. I hope I can share the procedure with you, but I've heard through the grapevine that they are asking artists not to share early images. I'll have to ask about that.

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