A few weeks ago my wife, son and I went to Florida for a few days, and it was the first time our son saw the ocean! He was actually asleep when pulled in to the parking lot, so we carried him out in his car seat and sat on the beach, about 30 ft from the water, listening to the sounds of the waves, and watching the sun slowly make its way down the horizon. After a few minutes, our son calmly woke up and gazed out upon the ocean. It was serene. Eventually, we got him out of his seat and made our way into the water (holding him above the water, of course!).
This oil portrait is going to be a photo of him being held over the water, gazing out into the sea.
As with all of my portraits, it starts with meticulous measuring and drawing! As this progresses, you’ll see it turn from a simple drawing to a colorful and lively oil portrait!
A few weeks ago I finished this oil portrait painting of my wife Brigitta’s maternal Nicaraguan grandmother (or ‘abuela’, in Spanish). Her name was Rafaela Corrales Toruño, and Brigitta simply called her “Abue.”
Abue had five children, three of which emigrated from Nicaragua to the U.S. in the 1970’s. Abue also came to the U.S. to accompany her first child to come here, Tía Ligia (Tía means “Aunt”, and Tía Ligia was Brigitta’s Aunt Ligia). Then, Brigitta’s Dad came on vacation to visit, which then turned into a permanent stay! Later on, Brigitta’s Tía Cecilia came as well. Abue’s other two children stayed in Nicaragua. So nowadays, we have family both in Northern Virginia and in Nicaragua (and in Argentina and Ecuador on Brigitta’s Mom’s side)!
I met Abue almost ten years ago, before I spoke much Spanish. Whenever I tried to speak to her in Spanish, she’d turn to Brigitta and say “¿Qué dice?”, or “What is he saying?”. I’m glad I got to experience her liveliness, kindness and family values. She was a true ‘family matriarch.’
Abue lived with Brigitta’s family during much of Brigitta’s childhood, and they spent lots of time together, abuela y nieta (granddaughter), on the famous couch shown in the painting below!
This portrait painting was a gift to my paternal grandfather, who went by Papaw.
Papaw grew up on a farm in rural southern Ohio during the Great Depression. His family didn’t have running water or electricity until he was an adult! The first time he left his county was at 18 years old when he joined the Navy and traveled all over the world. He fulfilled 2 terms of service in the Navy, then briefly worked for the railroad (where my own father retired from), and then made his career working for the Air Force, where he attained numerous awards for his accomplishments. Since the early 1950’s, Mamaw (my grandmother) and Papaw have lived in the same house in Pickerington, Ohio, now a suburb of Columbus. For a long while, it was a rural area, until the suburbs grew out to Pickerington.
While on a Midwest road trip in August 2011 to visit family in Indiana, we stopped by Ohio on the way back to see Mamaw and Papaw. We snapped this photo of Papaw and I by his garden out back. I was picking cucumbers and tomatoes to bring back to Virginia. I thought it was a great picture of us, so it’s the one I chose to paint.
His name was also Dave White (he was Dave White Sr., while I am Dave White III). I’d never thought about it much, but out of all of his grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, I’m the only one with the same name as him!