Every couple of weeks I do an Original Family Portrait with children from a family. It is a treasured gift and I am really grateful to be a part of something that is good both for my income and good for my soul.
I have done probably 50 of these. All of them have been for intact two parent families. We could speculate why – budget for two parent families is bigger than that of the split, split people don’t want their ‘half’ family rendered on canvas for fear it will be more than just temporary, people don’t celebrate this form of family as it is typically not built this way (with some exceptions) but rather ends this way through fallout.
The father always features prominently seeing as he is typically the tallest, biggest, often oldest person in the family. I hear the excitement from these children, to make it great, and to surprise dad.
Very occasionally there has been a wave of nostalgia and a tinge of sadness for what is missing for us when I do these projects. I have never mentioned this to my children because I am trying to be the poster child for what we have not what we don’t. Besides it is mainly a feel good thing to do this with others and for others and to pocket a handsome commission.
This week my girls were spending every (read ‘scarce’) spare minute in our art studio painting, building, doing something that was top secret for me for Christmas.There was much whispering and even a hair dryer was going at times. That was confusing (although now I realize it was to dry the paint).
I can’t explain how it feels for someone to spend time making me something at Christmas. When it is your children you really feel that you have taught them well. When it doesn’t end up being a ceramic ashtray (I don’t smoke) and it is special/useful to you – it is the most wonderful gift you have ever received.
It was the first gift I opened on Christmas day.
I am almost embarrassed to admit that I cried really hard when I did. (Btw, out of joy , honestly, although I am not sure it came across that way)
It was this picture of our family doing our favourite thing – swimming together.