Recently, my sweet friend Connie hired me to draw a portrait of her grandma (who Connie was actually named after), her mom and herself for Grandma Connie’s 84th birthday. When she first emailed me about it a few weeks ago, I was really excited! Not only was I going to work on my first generational piece, but I had the advantage of knowing too well that these were no ordinary Grandma, Mother, Daughter relationships represented by the smiling faces in the picture. These three women are amazing ITALIAN women with a lot of love, spirit and spunk running through their veins. I have had the privilege of visiting Connie’s hometown in Connecticut twice, and both times I was devastatingly spoiled to consume Grandma Connie’s s infamous homemade Italian meatballs. Words cannot even describe.. Oh so yummy!
Another important member of this family’s women force (that is not represented in the drawing but is definitely worth mentioning by name) is LuAnn, Connie’s Aunt (sister of Lisa and daughter of Grandma Connie.) At one point, Connie and I toyed with the idea of trying to include her in this portrait, but later decided to keep it just the three in the original photo. I have met Aunt LuAnn personally, though, and I will say she is one seriously lively and imaginative woman! And also, she’s an artist in such a true sense, which I love!
The main focus of mine on this project was definitely capturing the spirit of each of these women. I started with the background. This home is very significant to this family because not only is it the home Connie grew up in, but also there is a full unit (kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom bathroom and beautiful patio) below the main house where Grandma Connie has lived for years. I am sure that their common living space has been a huge contribution to their closeness :) After laying in the background, I focused in on Grandma Connie, and really took my time with her, since she is the strong root of this family lineage. I am so fond of her soft eyes! To me, there are just so many stories and experiences stored in them. Next, I worked on Connie’s mom, Lisa. It was interesting to note the similarities in facial structure between her mother I had just worked on and her (especially their cute little noses.) Finally I worked on Connie, who in my opinion has the most beautiful italian eyes ever! Actually I think they look like Esmerelda from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." haha. So pretty. The three of them together are just a comforting, happy sight to behold. To finish, Connie asked me to lay in a verse (Psalm 199:90) that I just love because it really does summarize this wonderful family: “Your faithfulness extends to every generation.” It is so neat to see healthy, loving relationships spread across three generations. What a blessing that is!
It was a great experience to work on this piece. Thank you Connie, for letting me encounter a little part of your family spirit by giving me the opportunity to study and recreate the faces that embody it!