My Dad is my Hero
As most of us growing up in the 1960’s (giving away my age a bit) our dad’s were our heroes. I am no exception. My dad was a bigger than life super-hero to me. He actually still is to this day. He became a single father, raising 5 children as a farmer and took on work in town to support us. He was never a quitter. Even when things got really tough for him. My younger sister and I were that babies of the family. I was 6 years old and my sister was 4 when our mother left home. We were too young to understand all of the dynamics that lead up to her leaving but it was a tough time for all of us to say the least.
So, needless to say my dad meant more to me than ever. I have fond memories of him cooking for us, taking us to school, riding on the tractor with him and taking naps on his shoulder. He taught me how to drive so I could help in the fields at a very young age.
Portrait of a Hero
With my recent return back to my art, I have been doing portraits of family members. Because I have access to reference photos and because they mean so much to me, it was a natural place for me to start. There are challenges in drawing people you really care about though, in that it’s hard to picture them as a subject to draw without putting in your own view of what you think they look like.
Another challenge is to draw a more mature person, like my dad and not make the lines on his face look like a roadmap! He has earned every line on his face through hard work, laughing and a bit of crying along the way. I want them to look like part of his character. So the transition from one texture to another needs to be seamless and smooth.
Not only am I drawing my dad but I am drawing my step-mom in this portrait. She has been by his side, supporting him, working with him and being there for him for many years now and she has been a meaningful part of our lives as well. She fittingly belongs by his side in this drawing.
My younger sister and I were not raised by our step-mom so we didn’t have the chance to get as emotionally close to her as if we had lived with her. We were sent to live with our mother when I was 9 and she was 7 and so we were just visitors on the weekends and summers after dad remarried. My mother moved us clear across the country when I was 14 and we didn’t see our family for a long time after that.
The Emotional Roller Coaster Ride
It is often talked about, how art inspires emotion to the viewers, or the emotion an artist puts into their work. Not much is ever mentioned about the emotion an artist can go through when doing a portrait of someone they love. It’s a roller coaster of emotion for me as I do this portrait. The emotions are worth it to me though, because I believe they are making me stronger; they are making my art better and they are making this piece mean so much more to me.
Sharing My Progress
Here are some pictures of my progress on this portrait of “Jr. and Donna” so you can see where I started and where I am now. If you would like to see the finished portrait please follow me on Instagram and Facebook where I post nearly daily. I will post a pic of this portrait there when it is finished. To see some of my other portraits pop on over to my page Graphite Portraits and take a look.
What does your dad mean to you? Is/was he your super-hero? Share your short story in the comments!
By for now and I hope to see you here next week where I will talk a bit about “Building a Body of Work” by slowly and steadily by doing something each day. Don’t forget to follow me here so you don’t miss any future blog posts! 😉