And then this happens…

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 fails to improve. The first one, looking back, it wasn’t so bad. 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 colors beneath that I didn’t photograph. This next photo, when I finished it, all I saw was decay. And, the next, all I saw was muscle. The now all I see is a clown. But, my Grandpa was a bit of clown without the face paint, so perhaps it’s true to him. All the lines are wrong. I don’t think my family would recognize him. But, it’s been two years and it’s time to be done. So, 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 around the condensation on our glasses, together.

Green and White
Purple and Light Blue
“Grandpa B” by Bethany Jaine Bredeson, Acrylic on Panel, ’20

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