Painting Stories

BROKEN

48″ X 36″ oil on canvas

Broken 36″X48″ oil on canvas

I met this man outside of a temple in India where he was asking for alms. I could not stop looking at him and he kept motioning me over. I asked through signs if I could take his photo and he said “yes”. As I photographed him, he never for one instant made eye contact with me and there was no spark coming from his eyes. My 4 year old son came over to join me and some time after we walked away said, “Daddy he is broken. What happened to him?”
An artist learns many ways to show spark and light in the human eye, but none of that would help with this painting. It needed the opposite. During the time I painted this man I began to feel that it wasn’t a case where there was no spark of life, but like many Hindus, he was withdrawing himself from this world and preparing to enter the next. Finding him at the temple was no accident.

HER GIFT

30″ X 40″ oil on canvas

Her Gift 30″ X 30″ oil on canvas

“The painting of my wife and our foster child — who has since been reunited with his birth family is still very close to me. I watched my wife over months give her love and strength and protection to this child. Tears, joy, fierce protection, devotion, sleepless nights — all while knowing she might never see him again but that he would carry the sense of being loved unconditionally into his future life and it would become a foundation for him. The differences in her and his hair, skin, and ethnicity are apparent yet the emotional connection between her and the baby is strong enough to make that completely irrelevant. The work represents the profound love that only a mother can have for her child. 

Each finger holds the baby differently: from the talon-like security of her thumb and forefinger griping him, to the gentle touch of her ring finger and pinky left floating in space half touching and half letting go, as letting go she would eventually have to do.

CRUSHED BLOSSOM

30″ X 60″ oil on canvas

Crushed Blossom 30″ X 60″ oil on canvas

I’ve known Stephanie, my model, for a few years now. When we meet she told me a bit of her life story. Her parents died before she was five in gang related violence and relatives and eventually “bad people” then raised her. Specifically a bad man who hurt her. A few days before our scheduled modeling session she saw this man again for the first time in twenty years, she tried to replace that pain with the pain of cutting herself. I asked her if I could incorporate that into our painting and she agreed.

This work is a study in contrast between her present beauty and her scars from the past. A universal story lived by so many and an uplifting story of overcoming adversity.  I painted her as I see her resplendent and beautiful.