Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Tribute

"Granddaddy" portrait of my father-in-law, Drate Banks
As I've said before, sometimes life as an artist is ... just life.

On Friday morning, March 22, my father-in-law, Drate H. Banks, passed away.  Drate was all about family -- and I'm lucky enough to be a part of his.  I remember hearing -- that people often commented that they wanted to come back as one of Drate's boys.  The same could be said about being one of his daughter-in-laws, or grandkids, or wife, or friend.  He always made it clear how much you meant to him -- and just lit up with family around.

Strange point, but I remember going with Randy and his Mom and Dad's to Captain Pell's Crab Shack in Fairfax -- to order, what else -- but crabs. Randy's dad spent the whole meal picking out the crabmeat for me to eat. That was pretty darn nice and a sure sign of kind gestures to come.

He was also there in the cheering section for our kids' sports events, endless rounds of golf for Sam, bowling tournaments for Sam and Sarah, Sarah's softball games, t-ball.

My sister-in-law Cindy mentioned something on Friday -- that in all the years she'd known Drate -- he had never chosen sides (between her husband Vardaman and her.) That's remarkable -- and true, too, with Randy and me.  The add-ons (like Cindy, me, grandkid spouses and friends) didn't have to be born into the family to be part of it -- he welcomed all of us with welcome arms.

Randy's Dad has been a huge part of our lives -- but even more so in the three years since his Mom passed away.  Randy and his Dad have been lunch buddies many times a week for years. Once, I think, Drate indicated he felt guilty to take up so much of Randy's time.  Randy's response was -- what would he (Drate) have given to have those chances to spend that time with his father.  Like father, like son. Both treasure the same important things in life.

We will miss his wonderful company and nature ... but he left us with plenty of wonderful memories to cherish.  I also know that he's content with a life lived beautifully and sharing the rest of eternity with his wife, Mary Blake. 

100 Faces in 100 Days Project
Phone: 703.403.7435

Events and Exhibits

"Rainy Day in NYC" was chosen as one of 15 finalists in the "You Be the Judge" Online Art Contest #3.  You can vote for it: #13 at: to cast your vote ... until March 31, 11:59pm EST. It's easy and free. Enough votes cast and it will be part of the Grand Prize round eligible for over $10,000 in prizes.

Don't miss out. Sign up now for Spring Classes that start April 9 (Still Life in Oils -- but you can work on your own projects from reference materials in this class as well, Tuesdays, 9:30am-1:30pm, $375) and April 10 (Painting the Landscape, Wednesdays, 9:30am-1:30pm, $375 -- full of plein air adventures) offered through the Great Falls School of Art, Great Falls, VA.  Go to my web site:, click on Classes for supply list and registration info.  You need to be pre-registered for classes -- especially for landscape -- to know where each class will be held. Class size is limited.  I hope you can join us!

More events and exhibit info available through my web site.   

1 comment:

Jerry Stocks said...

So sorry about Randy's dad. I tried to vote again but was told I had already voted. Shucks!