February 2, 2012

Christmas Commission

The day's leading up to Christmas were busy with normal holiday preparations and of course Santiago was painting a lot.  He was getting ready for 2 shows and finishing up a commission piece that was to be a Christmas present.  It is not unusual for him to be working on commissions around the holidays but this year there was a piece that really took on a special meaning for him.  A local gentleman asked Santiago to paint a portrait of his son that portrayed a trip that they took together to Africa where his son completed his Eagle scout project, part of which was to deliver soccer balls to school children.  Santiago used photos that they had from their trip and shot his own reference of their son. The composition was very well executed and the feedback left Santiago beaming. 

Thanks to our friend for taking the time to write his thoughts and feelings about this piece! 

Today has been just amazing. I was completely tied in knots anticipating the big "reveal" of the painting. Would my wife like it? Would my son? Did I make the right decisions? The reception was even better than I could have imagined. My wife was completely blown away by it. My parents were here too, and there were many tears from all. As I explained to them what the painting meant to me, and what you have told me about it, we were all pretty emotional. It is already a family treasure. My mom asked my wife where she was going to hang it. Her response was, "Are you kidding? I'm going to carry it around with me from room to room!" :) 

All of that pales in importance, though, to my son's reaction. He didn't say much. He just beamed. I couldn't believe it. I was sure he would find fault with it, point out what he didn't like, complain about the hair or the tee-shirt, etc. But he just beamed. I mentioned that he would inherit it one day. His sister asked if he would sell it. He responded, "No way. Not ever." 

The great thing, Santiago -- and this is where I will be forever indebted to you -- now we have this physical manifestation of my love for my son. I explained to him today that he was so important to me, and our experiences together matter so much to me, that I wanted to "freeze" them so I would always have them. I think he "gets it." I think he needed to feel acceptance from his Mom and Dad, despite his rough edges. And I can't imagine a more tangible way to do it than to enshrine his image as a family treasure. As my mother put it today, meeting you and coming up with the idea to create this piece was a "divine signature" -- an incredible blessing for our family. 

I'm so full of gratitude to you that I'm not quite sure how to express it. I came to you to paint a picture, and instead you have revealed a relationship. The labor you have invested -- both physical and emotional -- goes so far beyond what I expected. You have given us something that is beyond price for our family, and that is worth far more monetarily than I was able to pay you. Thank you so much for your generosity and for sharing your incredible talent. 

A devoted fan

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