Note: This will probably be the last of my recap posts. I’ve moved on from the whirlwind that was 2013 and am excited to start building this next year into something worth writing about.
Some of you know I used to do a lot of commissions. Like, for a good year I painted photos of people’s homes//spaces from all over the country. It was always an amazing experience to be trusted with documenting a time and place that was meaningful to the commissioner even though we’d never met and they had little to go on in trusting me. This past year I received a commission that took that trust to the next level.
One of my coworkers’ cousin had been struggling with heroin and tragically lost the battle a month shy of his 29th birthday. My coworker wanted to gift something to the family - with whom he was incredibly close - and asked if I’d consider doing a portrait. Because my style tended to be colorful and celebratory, he thought it’d be a good fit - celebrating a life even though it was cut short.
My knee jerk reaction was to say no.
- I’ve not done portraits in years
- I’d be horrified if I wasn’t able to represent his likeness in a way that felt honoring
- I had no idea how to start a project like this
I’m still blown away that my he put his faith in me to give it a shot. I only agreed if I could do a drawing first and have him approve the concept before I’d accept the commission.
Even today, looking back at the drawing and painting that resulted, I’m still at a loss for how it came together, (I mean, I prayed a lot through the process & I can only assume the universe was on my side for this one). According to my coworker it was incredibly well received and the family ended up displaying it for the service.
I have a hard time coming up with a take-away from this experience. Like, what the lesson was or what I should remember for the next time I’m commissioned to do something scary and outside of my comfort level. Ultimately, I am left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I was trusted to capture a really beautiful life for the family and friends to remember. That'll be a good enough take-away for now.