I’ve been tinkering with this portrait of my wonderful father-in-law for many years. It was always going to be a practice portrait but in my mind I thought it would be nice to get it to a place where my wife Jen would enjoy looking at it.
After finishing the portrait of my father, I was determined to finish this one for Jen and for me!
I called him “Mr. Wallace” through six years of dating his daughter and a couple years into our marriage out of respect. He always said jokingly, “All of my good friends call me Mr. Wallace.” I always called Jen’s mom by her first name Joni so after all those years Joni insisted that I start calling him Bruce! Every time I called him Bruce both he and I couldn’t help but laugh.
Through his exceptional work ethic, Bruce became Executive Vice President of two large insurance trade associations. He was a guy who treated the mailman like his best friend, a guy whose daughters adored him, his son admired him and his wife, and all who knew him, loved him.
He was a Captain in the Marines during the Korean War, so much a patriot that he would only buy American cars. He was always a gentleman, and the ultimate Mr. Nice Guy. He loved Rock and Roll and working out to music like Creedence Clearwater Revival.
He was like a second father to me. I loved his quirky sense of humor. He loved puns and writing funny poems for special occasions. We’d always say “That’s a Brucie”!
I ended up using a soft palette with Impressionist touches which seemed an appropriate style to capture Bruce’s soft, good natured personality. The painting went through so many iterations that it ended up with a sense of translucency, creating a depth in the skin tones.
I like the fact that Bruce has a full smile in this portrait because he was a fun, happy, upbeat person. The photo I was working from was taken in his younger days before I knew him. I am pleased that somehow I ended up with Bruce looking more like I remember.
Now when I look at this portrait I finally see Bruce. Jen now sees her wonderful father and that gives me a real sense of satisfaction.
We miss you Mr. Wallace; I mean Bruce!