What a story there was behind this anniversary gift. Steve Lennartz called me to discuss the possibility of doing something really unique for his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. In the past I painted both of his daughters and he knew how special the gift of artwork becomes. Originally we talked about painting his parents as they were on their wedding day back in 1962. We had a black & white photo, which he wondered if we could upgrade to color. “Sure, no problem.” Then he mentioned the church they were wed in, St. Bernard’s in Cincinnati, and thought it made a real architectural statement, could we include it in the painting somehow. “Sure, no problem.” I was half joking but I said that I could even get him and his family in the painting also, as if they were in attendance too. With design finesse, ability, decent references, and the stroke of a brush it is possible to position people who did not exist at the time of the wedding in a painting painted 50 years after the actual wedding occurred. Several days later Steve challenged me by asking if it would be possible to include all his siblings and their children in the same setting. That’s 24 individuals! There were numerous obstacles to contend with, the family seldom were in the same location at the same time, seldom are all the family members of any specific family together at once to take a group photo. Then there was an issue about how everyone was dressed or should be dressed. My suggestion: put everyone in gowns and tuxedos as if they were in the wedding. This was unanimously accepted. It made the effort more harmonious and consistent. As I painted I jotted down notes as to the meaningfulness of this occasion and then composed a little tribute to Bob & Delores:

 

 

The 50th
A Half-Century Mark

Unfortunately,
Parents
Will Come & Go

Their Children
Will Have Children
Of Their Own.

All,
Will Eventually
Come & Go.

The Church
That United Them,
That Sustained Them,
Will Never Go.

It Is The Dominant Influence
That Kept The Family
Strong,
Healthy & Together.

You Are All United,
Connected To One Another.
Small Spaces In-Between Each
Of You Defines Your Uniqueness,
But Everyone In This Painting
Is Connected,
Forever