01 May 2009

Donovan Imagines Himself Made Holy At His First Communion.

Pattijo Verdeja commissioned this as a gift for her son Donovan on the occasion of his first communion. She wanted me to paint something having to do with how a child might relate to this experience. I agreed but had no idea where to begin.
I know very little about Catholicism, so, I decided to seek advice. I contacted Fr. George Byers, in Lourdes, France and asked if he had anything that would help me. A few weeks back, I made a made a painting for Fr. George (see St. Augustine and the Jackass) that was commissioned by a devout woman in Minneapolis who loves his blog bloggingLOURDES. After seeing that painting, Fr. George immediately contacted me to tell me how much he liked it. I found him to be a kind and interesting man and, half kidding, asked if I could consult him for future paintings that involved Catholicism. "Of course", he said. He really came through for me here.
I emailed and asked Fr. George to write a couple of sentences about his first communion. Instead he suggested a painting along with reference images. He did the work for me, so I went with it. He suggested an image of the boy from the waist up with crossed hands and a glow around him as seen on images of the Guadeloupe. (I thought that his suggestion to reference the Guadeloupe was amazing, I didn't tell him that the family was Mexican. Of all the Catholic images to pick). He also suggested the image of the Eucharist glowing within him. These were great ideas. And since they came from a Catholic priest, obviously appropriate for their church. I added the dove and lily on top for good measure.
I think painting children is very hard. They often end up looking like small adults. Children have odd proportions that I have troubles wrapping my mind around. Big heads, narrow shoulders, short arms. I don't know how much this actually looks like Donovan, but I think it's close enough to understand that it is a symbol for him. Many times, even photographs don't "look" like the person. Look at Facebook pictures. You'd think all of your friends were models.
I would like to wish Donovan the best on his first communion. I hope it is a beautiful and spiritually rich experience.
And of course my greetings and thanks to Fr. George for his collaboration. (I may call on you again).

1 comment:

Father George said...

John, I hope you don't mind if I make a comment. It's probably not a helpful remark since it is only praise. But sometimes affirmation is good for future reference. It's just that I must say that the expression on this boy's face superbly brings out his joy, contentment, radiance, friendship... Perfect! You've done the impossible.

Father George bloggingLOURDES