On the day of my Grandpa’s funeral, I was 1,200 miles away in a garage painting his likeness from the one photo I had, which I later misplaced. It was a grainy photo taken some ten years previous outside my childhood home. I never got to know him, well. But my Grandpa had an infectious smile. I have hated every stage of this painting. Each version failed to improve. All the lines are wrong. I don’t think my family would recognize him.
The first one, looking back, wasn’t so bad, because I see his smile. But at the time I finished it, I only saw the color of dry bones. I thought, ‘great, he’s dead and so I’m painting him dead.’
The next one has many layers of strange textures beneath that I didn’t like.
All I saw in the next layer was muscle.
The now all I see is a clown. My Grandpa was a bit of clown without the face paint.
I love it. I think it ended with his personality.
I raise a glass to Grandpa today.
From you I get my adventurous spirit and it’s going to take me soaring. And, in heaven I’ll meet you for a milkshake. We can wrap paper in the condensation around our glasses, together.