Tag Archives: family

Untitled 12172016 (Lassoing Brandon)

17 Dec


This painting contains a lot of passion and energy because it was painted as I was reflecting on some of the struggles my 12 year-old son Brandon is having.  Brandon is a special kid but he’s been through a lot in the past 5-6 years.  He is the first-born of 3 siblings and spent almost 3 years with his mom and I by himself when he was born.

Brandon has lived in 5 different places in his short 12 years.  Three of those places because of work related transfers when I was still married to his mom.  Once because of divorce and his newest home because of his mother’s remarriage.  He is a creative, deeply feeling young man with a heart that loves deeply and cares for others.

But his heart is really struggling.  Right now he lives about 40 minutes from my home with my second wife and her two kids.  The move for Brandon involved a new house, a new school, a whole new set of friends, and a whole new step family including 4 new step siblings on top of his 2 natural sibs, the transition has been so tough on him and he has been expressing a lot of pain about it lately.

This week a paper he wrote at school got flagged by his teacher and sent to the school counselor who shared it with his mother and I.  It is both a beautiful and heart-breaking expression of honest pain like I’ve never read before.  He has a beautiful heart and mind and every instinct wants to run to him, wrap him up, and hold on tight until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

Back to this painting, it is untitled but after looking long and hard at it to day I gave it the alternate title, “Lassoing Brandon.”  On the bottom right there appears to be a person diving into something arms outstretched head first into whatever it is.  I see that image as me diving into the abyss of my son’s sorrow.  On the left side there is a black streak that kind of looks like a lasso.  I want to swoop in and rescue him from all this pain and make it better, as any loving parent would.

I realize all I can do is meet him in it and be there for him and help give him constructive ideas about facing and using his pain to help others and grow forward in his life.  I don’t always share the back story of my paintings but I had to let you all know what motivated this one.


Still Life (Matchbox)

23 Nov



As a kid we camped a lot.  I always remember the box of wood stick matches dad would use to light the camp stove and the lanterns.  Those were great times, some of my best memories derive from those trips.

The Blank Stare

17 Aug

I couldn’t help but notice. She was full of life, vibrant and talkative. He just sat staring this endlessly empty stare. I could see that it frustrated her and despite her attempts she could not gain his elusive attention. He got up and slowly shuffled away to get more coffee.

I sneaked over to their table, looked her in the eye and said, “Something happened to your husband that’s really changed him. I bet that’s hard.” Instantly the tears began to form and she replied, “Are you in the medical field?” I said, “No, I can just tell.” She told me he had a stroke four years ago and is now battling cancer. She said it is so hard to watch him changing from the man he was before his stroke and ensuing battle with cancer. I told her I can only imagine how challenging it is for her. She nodded in quiet, tearful agreement.

He came back to the table and we chatted a bit about their family and what brought them to Ohio from the thumb of Michigan (a beautiful place to visit if you ever get the chance). He went on to tell me about his job of 45 years for the same company. I told him I am always impressed by anyone who can stay in the same job for that many years. I could see how proud he was of his job and of the way he made his way through the ranks by working hard and being devoted to the company (a good lesson for us all).

I shook his hand and thanked him for chatting. As I left to go back to my table I started reflecting on those two. I’m sure they’ve been married for many years. I’m sure like every couple they’ve worked through some difficult things together.

I thought it strange and a little sad, that at the point in their lives when they have the time and resources to travel and see the things they always wanted to see, they are faced with the challenge of ailing bodies and frail health; yet their commitment remains and they are carrying on loving each other as they vowed to do many years before.

Love is both feeling and commitment (choice). The feelings do come and go, but real love remains committed no matter what. Today, I was blessed with a real-time illustration of love in action.

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