Thursday, January 1, 2009

Portrait of Bob and Bridget Borchers


After many, many months ... my portrait commission of Bob and Bridget Borchers is now complete. It will be framed and I'll take it over to Bob next week.

I've included my photo of it here. Later, I'll have it photographed professionally ... which will be so much better than what I put up here.

A little history about this portrait. Bridget passed away in 2008, shortly before Bob contacted me to paint her portrait. The two of us, Bob and I, decided that I would paint a portrait of the two of them together ... working from photos of Bridget, and with me painting Bob from life. Bob gave me a lot of leeway as to pose, size, clothing, setting, actually everything. (I'm always amazed, and deeply appreciative, that clients trust me to do what I think is right. What a difference that makes!)

I took a lot of photos of Bob at one of our initial meetings -- actually not knowing what I'd do with them because I didn't know what the setting of the portrait would be or what photo of Bridget I would use as a primary source. Then, I started sketching -- a couple of very rough ideas -- and only one that I fleshed out. That turned out to be a detailed sketch, very similar to this final portrait. In sketching it, I figured out something that felt exactly right. And, Bob loved it.

One important point to make is that throughout the process I used live sittings (thanks, Bob!) and tons of totally different photos to make this happen. The ones I have of Bridget are from a different angle in different lighting. I also witnessed a transformation in Bob from our first meeting onward. As someone deeply in love with my spouse (Randy), it was tough to face the grief experienced by someone who recently lost their other half. This portrait was good therapy. The Bob Borchers depicted here is different than the Bob I met right after his loss. That's due to lots of reasons, but one of them was our project.

The yellow creature Bridget's holding, since I know someone will want to ask, is a Sneetch. The Sneetch is a character in a Dr. Seuss book (The Sneetches and Other Stories) -- a book that was an absolute favorite of mine and the Borchers. Nothing is without meaning here.

It was an honor to work on this project. Being able to create art that makes a difference in someone's life is a profound gift. I treasure it and work at it.

Happy New Year and Thank You for Making Art Part of Your Lives!
Jill Banks

2 comments:

krystyna81 said...

what a wonderful project...I have done many memorial portraits, and I too have witnessed the healing power that comes with it - talking about your loved one, creating their likeness...it is amazing therapy. Bravo on this wonderful painting.

Anonymous said...

She was great. She never treated me like the weird kid (I knew her children).