When I was small, my family lived in Salamanca, Spain, a university city about 2 1/2 hours’ drive northwest of Madrid. For reasons I don’t know – and I keep forgetting to ask my parents this question – we did a short trip to Sevilla when I was 2 (1971). I have no memory of this trip, but the photographs that were captured that day seem to spark fragments of memories. A photographer was in this lovely plaza taking pictures and selling them. My parents bought the following photos, which represent just the handful of photos from this period we lived in Spain. I think they capture this young family beautifully – it seems like it was a fun, peaceful day and reminds me of a time when people actually dressed up to go for a walk in the city.
These photographs have always hung in my parents’ home, and my paintbrush was itching to try to bring them to life on the canvas. I brought the photograph of my dad to Michael’s studio and he guided me through the process. I used a limited palette of white, burnt umber, pthalo blue, and burnt sienna and the canvas was my largest yet: 48″ x 36″.
This painting was hard for two reasons. First, I wanted my dad to actually look like my dad, and second, because the photograph is already so beautiful, I didn’t want to ruin that and create a caricature. The hardest part about this painting was the hands and the serene expression on my dad’s face. I presented the painting to my dad on Christmas morning last week. His reaction suggested that I managed to capture the essence of that day with my brush and oils.