After driving past their house twice, I pulled into their driveway where I was greeted by Ryen's step father, Harold. As I took the portrait out of car he had tears in his eyes. I turned the painting around so Carmen couldn't see it as I was walking in the house. Ryen's grandmother, his sister Kaitlin and his baby sister were also in the room. When I turned the painting around they all started to cry. Kaitlin was especially emotional, she had to leave the room. She was very close to her brother and wants to make him proud. She's a star catcher on her fast pitch softball team. I visited with them a while and looked at lots of photos of Ryen. I could tell he was a very special brother and son and is truly missed. I'm from a small town in Georgia and being in their home felt very comfortable. Before I left I got to meet his sister, Lauren, who his a senior and a cheerleader for Franklin County High School. Meeting families like this makes me feel so honored to paint portraits of Georgia's fallen and hope that the portrait can bring them much comfort in years to come.
The portrait was done as part of Art from the Heart, which I have posted about several times. To see a detailed image of Ryen's portrait, go back in this blog where I posted a good photo.