Sunday, June 04, 2006

You may or may not be aware of a website called - on Illustration Friday, someone submits an idea for all the artists and then the artists share a link to an artwork they have done for the subject. Today I checked and the topic is 'portrait.' Well, you know I have quite a few of those!

The next thing was to think about which one of the portraits I've done that I would pick to share on Illustration Friday.

I decided on this Memorial Portrait I did of my Uncle, Richard Lafayette Taylor, of Leonard Texas. I did this one in pencil on bristol paper for my Aunt Ruth.

Uncle 'R.L.' was a licensed funeral director for 40 years. His total number of funerals directed is unknown, although it's estimated that it was well over 2,000. He performed funerals for people in up to 8 nearby counties.

I have a newspaper article about my uncle dated 2002, after his death. The article mentions many times about how Uncle RL would show his compassion and love for people...not seen in facial expression, but by his actions, and that there were many kind things that he did that were unknown. That sounds about right...that teaching came from his Christian mother (my grandmother) who I never knew...she died before I was born - but my father said they were taught that if you do something nice for someone and it gets found out because you told people about it or bragged about it - then it doesn't count.

My uncle lived in Texas and I lived in Michigan while growing up, so I'd only see him every two years or so, but he was a special uncle to me and made a big impression. I remember once when I was about 12, he let me come in while he prepared the body of a deceased elderly lady. He took great care and his professionalism was evident. This was at the stage where makeup is applied and the final touches of jewelry, etc are added. His goal was to prepare her to be in a lifelike pose, to cover the bruising she had from the IV tubes with a lace handkerchief, to spare her family from seeing her that way. The goal was compassion and service to the family of the person. It was not a horrible experience for me - if anything, it made me less afraid of death.

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