It feels good to finish. :)
This series went through a lot changes throughout the year but the main idea remained the same: to make a portrait of someone who passed away and share their story. It began in late 2015 when I learned of Granny Henderson and I felt the need to make a portrait of her.
So I began the series by asking for submissions. Some of you wrote to me with stories and photos. I painted a portrait and shared those stories here. Those portraits are now in their homes where I hope they help with remembrance and healing and give opportunities to continue to share these stories that mean so much.
After a while I wasn't getting enough submissions to sustain the series. I was at a conference and talking to Abby Glassenberg about it. She suggested that I start reading the obituaries. I liked the idea. Austin Kleon and Maira Kalman read the obituaries; that seemed good company. So I looked for interesting stories in the obits and I found people like Elizabeth Strofus.
And then 2016 turned into the year that everyone died. Yes that's exaggerating but we did lose a lot of artists, musicians, actors, writers, and so many others in 2016. So I began to paint people whose stories most of us already know but I looked for the parts that had been overlooked--the before they were famous, the after, the moments in between.
A few of my favorite portraits from this year sold at booth events like these two:
But most are still available. It was incredible learning experience--to paint faces, to research, to learn the stories, to find a style. Maybe one speaks to you or you've had your eye on one for awhile now. Twenty-four of the fifty are available in my shop: