November 11, 2010

Honoring a Family of Veterans

Sailor Boys - Three Generation Portrait in Oil Pastel ┬ęSusan Donley 2010

I’m always honored when someone asks me to paint a portrait, entrusting me with their memories of their loved one. I feel doubly honored when the subject is a veteran of the armed forces, police, and like services.

Recently, I multiplied that good feeling by three when my friend Chuck Lang asked me to help him bring a tribute he envisioned to life. Chuck, his father, and his son, all served our country in the Navy during wartime: World War II, Vietnam, and the War on Terror. Chuck imagined the three of them standing together on deck in front of the stars-and-stripes.

I could see them, too, in my mind’s eye and worked hard work to combine three boot-camp photos from the 1940s, 1960s, and 2000s taken in different light, angles, and color.

Navy uniforms have hardly changed in all that time, so folks who see it seldom get that it is a scene that could never happen in real life. Luckily, portraits don’t have to be constrained by real life!

Read Chuck’s reaction, view a larger version, and see the “before” photos here.

Thanks to the Langs and all veterans for serving our country!

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