Posts Tagged ‘commission’

Jackson  oil on canvas (11 x 14″)

This is Jackson. I had the pleasure this month to complete a commissioned oil portrait of him. Jackson is a nine year old Golden Retriever. We had the good fortune to live next door to him as well as his masters Lynn and Roger in South Beach. He has been a constant companion for Lynn from the time he was adopted at 3 months.  Jackson has walked a minimum of 3 miles every day of his life and has the inimitable talent of being able to chase down and hold in his mouth any number of balls and Frisbees simultaneously, ideally on his long walks on the beach, rain or shine. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed in August 2011 with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) originating from his left back leg and had to have his leg removed.  His diagnosis means he has less than 1 year more of life. Nevertheless, true to his irrepressible spirit, Jackson continues to walk and, amazingly, run every day and still fetches his balls and Frisbees from a heart of gold.  He will be missed by all who have known him and his good natured enthusiasm. Until then the Lynn and Roger are enjoying what time they have left with him. What a gift Jackson has been to all who have known him. In spite of all his circumstances, he has a great attitude of boundless proportions   that ALL of us would do well to emulate.


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The Kid graphite on paper (19.5 x 23.3″)

In the midst of some recent, long overdue studio “house cleaning” I recently came across a 30 year old drawing I had done in preparation for a commissioned portrait of the son of a gentleman who was at the time an internationally prominent boxing promoter.

I chose to pose the 4 year old boy with arms draped over a low hip wall on a deck corner in the familiar pose a fighter strikes while in his corner awaiting the round opening bell. It suited his personality to a tee. I often wonder where this little guy, now a young man in his mid-30’s, ended up. Even at the tender age of 4 he had a presence that definitely drew your attention. And, as you can see, lots of hair. I should be so lucky!

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Ray Matthis Oil on canvas (12 x 16″)

This is a portrait I just completed of Ray Matthis, the father of my dear sister-in-law Deanna Mandish. Ray passed away in June of 2008. I worked from some photos I took of Ray on Easter, 2008, 3 months before his death. He was one of the few human beings I’ve ever met that I would characterize as “Golden”, a man with a heart of gold and a bottomless wellspring of generosity. People witnessed to his generous spirit at his memorial service, some of them strangers to the family, recounted acts of kindness the family itself had no knowledge of as Ray had not seen fit to take credit. Below is an excerpt from Deanna’s eulogy to her father, Ray.

“…His unconditional love for those of us who were fortunate enough to know and love him, and know with certainty how much he loved us, was unwavering. His generosity was unparalleled. We are quite certain that we will never know all the good deeds he did, all the checks he wrote for someone less fortunate, the pies he baked, the errands he ran, the help he offered, the quiet acts of service, the many kindnesses he extended. He was not perfect. On rare occasions he was grumpy and short tempered, but, his character was steadfast. He was quick to say “I love you” and just as quick to say, “I’m sorry” when he was wrong. His heart was soft as butter…tears sprang to his eyes easily and pride in those he loved was enormous. He was easily touched by simple acts of kindness and his wobbly chin was well known to his family and those closest to him. He was a strong, manly man with a work ethic rarely seen in our world today, but, he was also gentle and not afraid to be silly and to laugh with glee. He loved babies and roses and wood working and his tomatoes. But–most of all, he loved his family and all of us who are gathered here today to love him right back. He was faithful to his commitments, to his family, his church and his friends. If he made a promise, he kept it. He touched others deeply, whether the people he sat with at church or his favorite waitress, Angela, at the Early Bird Cafe. He had faith and he knew where his next stop would be. If he could speak to us today, he’d tell you “it’s all true!” and he’d tell us to meet him on the other side. Because, just as you loved him, he loved you, too. “The gift of God is eternal life.” Say yes to the gift. Be there. He’ll be there to welcome you just inside the gate.”

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