Every so often someone will ask me to do a piece for them and I really stutter over it. Can I do justice to what they want me to capture? Through these commissions I have grown leaps and bounds as an artist and as an individual. Those seemingly hard projects are the ones I end up enjoying the most.
About a month ago, an old friend asked me to do one of these for her and her husband. To be honest, I'm still stuttering over it. My friend asked me to do a portrait of her mother-in-law. Deep humility washed over me as the honor of the request sunk in. I knew her mother-in-law and am still touched by her sweet memory. This wonderful grandmother passed away tragically a few years ago leaving her family and those of us who knew her with a tremendous void. She was a remarkable woman.
"I'm not good with realism," I told my friend. "I can try, but I'm just not as good at it." My insides were shaking over trying to paint Grandma W. How can I possibly capture all that I know about her? How can I capture her love, her faith, and her courage? I just do doodles...
"You have a happy style. That's how I want to remember Mom. I don't want a serious portrait, I want a happy one. That's why I'm asking you."
My mind recently has been filled with thoughts of motherhood as I seriously contemplate when Mr. F and I will start our own family. As the days go on, my heart aches for a child of my own. When I first put pencil to paper to sketch out Grandma W, my eyes filled with tears as my mind filled with memories of her. I saw her playing with her sweet grandsons, the pride and joy in her eyes for her son. I saw her as a mother and wife. A gentle figure, always there to comfort and reassure, so full of love. I saw the kind of mother I hope to be someday.
I don't know if my painting will ever encompass all I wanted it to but I'm so grateful for this opportunity to remember such a wonderful woman and to have her continue to teach me in her quiet way. Oh W, we miss you.