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Her Father’s Eye

…sometimes the greatest memories are made in the most unlikely of places…

-J. A. Redmerski

Her father loved to take photographs.

She often didn’t understand why he took the photos he did because many weren’t the usual “pretty” subjects. But she knew that there was something about these scenes that intrigued him, and they represented HIS curiosity about the world.

Case in point, he had one photo of a construction site enlarged onto a 2-ft x 3-ft canvas, and hung it in a prominent spot in the family home. It wasn’t the typical home decor, but it quickly became part of the family.

Recently, her father and mother passed away, and she had the very difficult task of packing up their home. She recalled that it was excruciatingly hard to part with her parents’ belongings and treasures – she wanted to keep everything! Unfortunately she could only take a few things, and one of the items she chose was the large canvas print of the construction site.

She said that more than any of the other possessions, this photo-on-canvas embodied her father’s spirit, his perspective and eye on life.

However, finding the right spot for this large print in her home was proving to be a challenge. It didn’t fit on many of her walls, even after re-configuring her other artwork. The canvas finally ended up on a wall in a laundry room – not where she wanted this memento of her father to go. She wanted this image near her, in a prominent spot in her family home, too. But there was no negative or jpeg file for this photo to make a smaller version, so she came up with the idea of commissioning a small piece of art of this image.

We were both fighting back tears as this client told me the story behind her commission request. I had not seen the canvas yet but I felt like I was being entrusted with something very precious. When I finally did get the canvas, it was definitely as described – a construction site with pails, tools, piles of mesh and tarps, and a lone workman bent over in toil. However it was also a construction site in Malta, with rich colours, funky shapes and textures, the incredible Mediterranean light and shadow, and a narrow passageway leading around a mysterious corner. As I was painting it, I began to appreciate more and more of what her father saw in this alleyway – and why it deserved to be seen.

It really was a joy and an honour to paint! And I hope this version of her father’s eye finds its rightful spot in her family home.

Malta Restoration

(Commission- ink and watercolour, 3.75″ x 5.25″ on archival paper)

The original photo on canvas:

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