Story Portraits are so unique. “What's that?" you may wonder. A Story Portrait is a montage of painted memories, that collectively tell...you got it...a story. A story about a person. Even to the casual observer, it's plain to see that one of these unique paintings is jam-packed full of meaning. Sometimes the story covers just a short span of time, and sometimes what's depicted stretches over many years, and even decades.
The number of elements making up the montage is determined by the customer. To date, I've done some that range from six unique elements to others that have as many as eleven. The Story Portrait pictured here is of Terry-Lynn (TLD), and it has seven specific, deeply meaningful components spanning her career with Elim Village. This Story Portrait was a retirement gift, measuring 11 x 14", and was commissioned by the organization.
TLD worked for Elim Village for the last 15 or so years of her career. She had a unique journey with the organization, beginning as a curious and supportive neighbour to the property acquired by this Seniors Living community. Little did she know that one day she would become a staff member, with a short commute by foot from her home that was adjacent to the property.
Staff member Amanda was my liaison to consult with on this particular portrait, and together we discussed and planned the elements of the painting. We explored several questions: What stood out from TLD's years with the organization? What was most important to her? Which relationships were key to her? What was her legacy? Reference photos were available for some of the elements decided upon, but others were missing, so I did a site visit to capture the outstanding photos.
One of the most important aspects of a Story Portrait is the composition, which takes some figuring to get right. My process with this is to mock up each individual element, and then arrange them like puzzle pieces until I land a composition that strikes the right balance. I then propose this to the client, in this case Amanda, and upon approval, I can get started on the painting.
Without going into the very deep and personal aspects of this painting, on a whole, TLD's Story Portait captures significant relationships she had at Elim Village, highlights her major legacy items, and her important work with the organization's charitable foundation.
I had the rare opportunity to gift the finished painting to TLD in person at her retirement party. In her role with the organization, she had herself commissioned me to do several Story Portraits over the years, and had made it known to Elim that receiving her very own, custom Katrina Dawn Story Portrait was high on her wishlist of retirement gifts (I was totally flattered by this to say the least). In the end, she didn't 100% know if she would get one (we did a great job of keeping it under wraps), and was thrilled when I placed it in her hands. Amanda provided an indepth explanation of the painting to those gathered for the occasion, and there were more than a few teary-eyed people in the room upon hearing the deep meaning represented in the piece.
Happy retirement TLD. Thanks for your endless support over the years.