Little Faces

Jun 26, 2016

A while back my daughter-in-law gently asked me if I might donate a painting commission to my grandson's school's auction. Having been on her side of the philanthropy fence in a past lifetime I said "sure" and that was that.

A few months later I got the email. Suddenly I was filled with trepidation. Commissions are a mixed bag. It's flattering to be chosen. It's an honor to have someone have faith in your work. But it's also fraught with lots of uncertainties. What if the collector is hard to please? What if they insist on a difficult project? What started out as an act of generosity and love began to give me agita.

We exchanged thoughts on the project. I sent her a long email detailing what I needed in terms of a source photo (or photos) and she sent me a delightful image of four small faces. It was going to be a gift to their grandparents. What's not to love? Then I saw it, the little face at the top, the baby. Oy. Babies are difficult. At least for me.

I am reminded of the muffled guffaws in art history class when viewing even Renaissance images of the baby Jesus. What were they thinking? Hadn't they ever seen a baby? If Leonardo had a hard time with the younger set, what was I going to do? Well, I worked my little tushie off and I had an unknown advantage. When time came for me to meet young Nate, now not such a babe in arms, he had miraculously grown into the little boy I'd painted. Divine Providence had offered a way.

For those of you who read my blog often (despite my sporadic entries), you'll know I'm a fairly dyed in the wool religious skeptic. But there is little else to explain how beautifully it all turned out except my deep desire to make some strangers happy. Maybe that desire is what kept an angel on my shoulder. 

Painting: Nate, Callie, Christopher and Nicholas © Lissa Banks 2016