The Artist Gene

I am elbow deep in portraits right now and I love it. I’ve had a record number of portrait requests this season and I couldn’t be more grateful. It is also a ton of work to get done in a short amount of time. So this week instead of creating something additional to my portrait work, I’m going to call an audible.  I really can’t wait for the next project I want to showcase, but this week I have to focus on my portraits.
In  light of Thanksgiving and some strange therapeutic outlet this blog has created for me I decided to write about something I’m thankful for, but first I have to share a story.
My grandfather worked as a crane operator at a chemical plant for years. Years hovering over God knows what was being released into the Ohio Valley. Whatever it was, we know it killed countless cattle at one point and later it took my grandfather as well. But his legacy remains as a wonderful human being. I only know of him from stories and from the art and work he left behind.  He was more than just a husband, father and crane operator, he was a creator. And he made some really, really cool things. At Christmas he would paint a beautiful winter scene on the huge mirror in their living room.  He had a sketch book filled with freehand drawings of famous Disney characters and take my word for it, they are remarkable.  He created beautiful window displays at my great-grandmother’s grocery store. He cut and painted wooden lawn ornaments for the holidays. He was a taxidermist and he was good at it. Long before those 3D stars were in just about every home decorating store, my grandfather made them, covered them in glitter and decorated the bushes in their front yard (I inherited one and it is the first thing I hang up in every place we live, picture below). He was an artist at heart.  Zero training and zero credit. He did it because he enjoyed it.  If there is such a thing as an artist gene, there is no doubt I got it from him.
That being said, I’m thankful that I can do what I do and that I’m able to help support my family while doing something I love and not something that I have to do. Our family makes sacrifices for this en devour and their support is unwavering, but it really comes down to all those that have me draw their beloved family members (both furry and non-furry).  This month my clients have afforded me to put tires on my car and packages under the tree.
I truly wish my grandfather was still here today, I imagine my grandma would put him on the phone after I asked her about a recipe and we would talk about a project we were working on. But I know he speaks through me in my work. I hope to leave a legacy for my family as well. I hope one day my grand-kids can say, “my grandma made some really, really cool stuff.”

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