In between my last two blog posts about my painting of Venice, I’ve been working on a secret project. My mother-in-law (Joni Wallace) had an 80th birthday approaching and we wanted to surprise her with something. She not only has been the best mother-in-law a guy could have but a steadfast and ardent supporter of my art from the very beginning. She has always been excited about my paintings, exhibits and any bit of good news about my career. My mom encouraged me to paint and went with me to some of the major galleries in DC. My dad also encouraged me to do what made me happy. Unfortunately they both passed away before I even started painting as a profession. Joni made up for the loss in many ways. She encouraged me from the beginning even though I was married to her daughter and knowing full well that painting for a living would be a risky choice.
I’ve always said that painting her could make me famous whether it was her in her prime with her movie star good looks, her in her more recent years as an elegant and classy woman or as a charming little girl. I chose to paint her as a little girl, looking up admiringly at her older brother Mark (who fairly recently passed away). The black and white photo that I worked from was circa 1934. The painting is in oil on canvas. We presented it to her on Saturday night 6/4/11.
In some small way it was my way of saying thank you to her for all of her love and support. I enjoyed the challenge of portraiture after not practicing it in a number of years and most of all painting two very special people, Joni McKay Wallace and her brother Mark McKay.