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Monday, November 17, 2008

Presentation to the family of Spc. Ryen King

I took a beautiful drive to Royston, GA yesterday to give the portrait I painted of Spc. Ryen King to his family. I talked to and emailed back and forth with Carmen Jordan, Ryen's mother, but I had never met her. Her husband, Harold Jordan, had sent photographs of Ryen for me to work from. I was a little surprised at first that Carmen wanted me to paint Ryen's portrait with him looking down. I told her that the eyes are the window to the soul and that she might want to select another photo. She really loved the photo of Ryen with his catcher's vest and his long hair. There really is something telling in the photo. As I painted his portrait I began to really feel his presence. I'm so happy that his mother chose the photo that she did. The painting has a special feeling and I love the way it turned out.

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.

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