I have been using my children as the subject-matter of my paintings for several years now. I just began a new painting of my son Shepherd yesterday. He modeled for 45 minutes. Standing still is not easy for a 14 year old boy and I considered this as I drew. His sacrifice in modeling for me was making the new painting possible.
Family life is full of sacrifice at every turn. You lay down your singleness in getting married and from the first child on there are more and more sacrifices to follow. Of course there are many rich returns as well from the freedoms that you must give up in the process of keeping a family together and healthy. There was a time when I had to help my daughter Pearl get her food into her mouth during dinner time while my dinner cooled off. Yesterday Pearl was working beside me with great enthusiasm to turn 50 lbs of Roma tomatoes into spaghetti sauce.
All these years of doing portraits of my children has helped keep me connected to them in a meaningful way. I would even go as far to say that every painting I have done of my children, wherever it has ended up, continues to radiate like a sustained prayer for their welfare. I believe making a painting of someone can be a different way of praying for them and once done goes on to linger with great power.