Tuesday, April 12, 2011
This is my latest painting, of my little buddy Elijah. Last year when we visited London for the BP Portrait Competition, we stayed with our good friends and their three wonderful kids. We had a fantastic week, walking along the sea side, having barbecues and introducing the stories of Robert Munsch to the little ones.
Having portrait painting ideas buzzing around my brain, I asked Tasha and her five year old daughter Kora to pose separately for the camera. Kora is a little comedian, the most hilarious kid I've ever met and was a real sport about posing. Her mom promised her a treat if she followed my instructions, and not wanted to miss out, her son Elijah jumped in front of the camera to ensure that he also received a sweetie.
I assumed that it was all fun and games with Elijah, and that I would probably paint either Tasha or Kora. When I looked at the photos however, I was struck by the qualities I picked up with Elijah. We had really bonded over that week, he is a great little person with such sensitivity and wit for someone his age. I decided to celebrate his more serious nature, giving him the spotlight of attention which his sister Kora usually basks in because of her more outrageous personality. Also, I couldn't help but paint the bit of dirt smeared on his face from our day at the beach, as I felt that it downplayed the formality of portrait painting, while keeping true to the care free existence of youth that I try to hold onto in my life and work.
This painting is my tribute to Elijah, and to his family who make us feel so welcome, accepted and loved whenever we get a chance to spend time with them. We hope to visit the UK more often!