Monday, October 8, 2012

A Remembrance

"Three Gulls"  Pastel on paper  10" x 8"
It has been near constant rain here, which is appropriate, given that it’s been only a few weeks since the death of my father-in-law, perhaps the finest man that I have ever known.  Mario was not young when he passed - he was eighty-six – but it is a reflection of his character that it feels as though he was taken too soon.

For Mario, life was precious and his family was precious.  So we who are left, by his example, know what we must do:  We must value each day, and cherish our loved ones, until the very moment that our own stories end.

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Mario loved the sea, perhaps more than anything.  So as a fitting tribute, my wife and I went to the beach at Key Biscayne a day or so after his funeral.  He used to bring his daughters there as children.  Although we live in Miami, we almost never go to the beach.

I brought my watercolors and tried to paint what I saw.  I tried to balance everything on my lap, brushes, paint, palette.  Occasionally I would drop a brush in the sand.  Sand was everywhere.  The watercolor was a disaster.

So off and on in the days thereafter, I laid in a pastel over the watercolor.  It was never quite right, so I worked and re-worked it.  I noted that the best pastelists don't appear to smear too much, but leave their marks confident and bold.  There is also a tremendous overlay of color in the best works.

I did not want to post until I had a work that would be a proper tribute for Mario.  So today I made changes again.  I don't believe I achieved my aim.  I will try again one day.   But in the meantime, here it is.

63 comments:

  1. Dan, I'm sorry for your loss, but thank you for this eloquent tribute to your father in law. He's blessed in his family.

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    1. Thank you. It is we who were blessed, really.

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  2. You spent the day at your father-in-law's favorite place and painted it to honor "perhaps the finest man you've ever known"--this is a proper tribute.

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    1. I hope so. I will do more though, I know.

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  3. I love your painting for your father-in-law..I bet he'd approve...I especially like the aqua color in the water. It is wonderful that you'll always have a relationship with such a special man. (You've lost the physicality of the relationship, but it's a relationship that will continue nonetheless). If I were to hazard a guess...... I'd say the 3 gulls represent how all of us stand just on the edge of what is next. Good work. :) Hugs to you and your Mrs.

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    1. I'm glad you like the coloring - it means so much coming from you. I love your take - that the relationship continues. And I love your interpretation of the piece. I hadn't thought of it that way.

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  4. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful life, lived well!

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  5. This is a fantastic tribute and and a wonderful and very hearted painting.
    The touch of pastels are giving like a touch of dreamy feeling.
    I love it so much!

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    1. Thank you Stefano - I'm glad you feel it has a dreamy feeling, it seems appropriate.

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  6. So sorry to hear of your loss. I'm sure Mario was looking down on you from somewhere, favourite places bring you closer to loved ones lost. He would have loved your pastel painting and tribute.

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    1. That is so nice, I'd never really thought of the idea that favorite places bring us closer to lost loved ones. I don't know if he would have loved it, but it's all I could do for now. I hope to do more. Thank you.

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  7. Well said and well done, Dan. Proud to know you.

    The painting will live on, and through it so will Mario.

    Dwell on the good times you all had with him, my friend, and smile.

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    1. And I am proud to know you. Thanks for your advice, I like that.

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  8. So sorry to read about your loss. Your tribute to your FIL is wonderful, very atmospheric.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you found it to be an appropriate tribute, and I like your description of it.

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  9. A lovely pastel and a lovely tribute to your father-in-law. My thoughts will be with you and your wife in the coming days.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer, your thoughts are appreciated.

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  10. I thought there would be a mans face here, a portrait copied from a photo. What I found was something much greater. I admire people that celebrate a persons life rather than only suffer their personal loss.

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    1. Thank you Mary, that is a really fine thought, and I hope we can continue to do so.

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  11. A beautiful way to honor your father-in-law.

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    1. Thank you, RH. Good to hear from you again.

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  12. So sorry for your loss, Dan. What a lovely tribute to a man who was well loved,

    xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much. I am pleased that he was surrounded by family when he passed - he deserved nothing less.

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  13. Sorry to hear about your loss. It's a beautiful piece Dan.

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  14. I know exactly what you mean about someone being taken too soon and this is a wonderful tribute to the memory of him. I do like the painting some of my favourite colours...

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    1. Thank you Judith. I am pleased you like the colors. It was a struggle..

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  15. I think your words alone here are a huge and beautiful tribute to Mario, and the drawing is lovely Dan.
    I like the almost misty feel to it, like a beautiful day is about to begin.

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    1. Thanks Mari. "Misty", I like that. It's now been called dreamy, atmospheric and misty so I must have done something right. I very much like your positive interpretation of the piece, and I hope it will be true in time for us and for him.

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  16. There's sadness on this beach. The colors are muted. Yes, the air is misty. But there's birds, life on the beach, they're just quiet right now. I think you have painted your sorrow for the loss of a good man. In time, you'll be able to celebrate his life in paint and those birds will be airborne.

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    1. Thank you Linda. This is the closest description to the interpretation I would give the piece, although I appreciate the positive views in the other comments - they are just as valid. I think I would like to think there are aspects of both.

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  17. What a lovely tribute to a man you loved and admired. We should all be so blessed to have people like this in our lives. I hope you celebrate his life through your art as you've done here and will continue to do in the future. Thinking of you and yours in your time of loss and grieving.

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    1. Yes, we are truly blessed to have had him these many years. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  18. The pastel is perfect. Please do not do it over. It expresses the moment and that is so important. Sincere sympathy to your family.

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    1. Perfect? I don't know. But I have no intentions of doing it over. It is done. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

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  19. My Father was a Seafarer and 82 when he died, he too was not ready to shake off his mortal coil but sadly our destiny is not always in our hands. Even beyond the stars, Mario will feel your love for him and you will carry him in your heart. As you say, Dan, cherish each day together and cherish his memory... your trip to the sea and your wonderful painting is a great way to start healing.

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    1. I love the way your describe your dad, and thank you.

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  20. I am so sorry for the loss your family has experienced. He sounds like a remarkable man who left behind a beautiful legacy. Art is healing and so are trips to remember the good things in ones life. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. We were very lucky to have a loving father in the household - and, by marriage, he was mine as well for 23 years. That is really something. Thank you, Pamo.

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  21. A heartful tribute for a person who obviously filled your hearts. I'm sorry for your loss.
    My sincere condolences to you and your family.
    As for the drawing, Linda's comment says my thoughts exactly.
    Warm regards.

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    1. Thank you, Konstantina, for your kind thoughts.

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  22. Oh Dan what a wonderful tribute... the sand in your brushes I'm sure added a touch of the beaches Mario loved so well... my prayers for your wife on the loss of her Dad... lost my Dad 5 years ago... too soon, way too soon... I still miss my Daddy as I'm sure she misses her Daddy.

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    1. Captain, I am so sorry for your loss. My own dad died last year as well. My wife was touched by your comment - she said, I call him my "Daddy" too. Thank you.

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  23. I think this is a lovely tribute to your father-in-law. It's lovely and definitely a success.

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  24. Leslie said "I'm so sorry, Dan. That's a lovely painting you've done to honor him!"

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    1. Thank you Leslie, for your thoughts.

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  25. Clare said, "This is a Beautiful tribute to a beautiful man who has lived life well! Thanks for sharing Dan!"

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    1. Thank you Clare. He did. He knew how to live. He had a wonderful history - so many things he has done, and there is much to be said for that. So many people can't say that.

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  26. Hi Dan, Im so sorry for your loss, your painting is a beautiful tribute for Mario. A big kiss for you and your wife.

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  27. Hi Dan, You and your family have my sincerest condolences. I think your soft, diffused atmosphere painting is most appropriate. Maybe it reminds me of the fragile nature of life, and yet there is strength in it! Lovely.

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    1. What a beautiful interpretation! Thank you so much.

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  28. A beautiful tribute in every way.
    You and your family will be in my prayers.

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    1. Thank you. Now another extended family member is in a life/death struggle - so your prayers are appreciated.

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  29. Blimey...I don't believe I've missed this!
    The colours are fantastic. I think this works really well.
    It is strange how Cathy has just done a watercolour/pastel painting that works well too. This is a work you can be very proud of Dan.
    Stew.
    stewcrowther.wordpress.com
    _________________________

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    1. Thank you, Stew. I'm a bit surprised that folks think it works. That is gratifying, because I did not want a substandard tribute.

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  30. A beautiful tribute... the mood of your painting captures the loss, the mystery/fog that surrounds a time of loss and yet the birds tell the story of "togetherness" - it celebrates the relationship. Give a comforting hug to your wife on my behalf...

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    1. Another wonderful interpretation, comforting. Thank you.

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  31. Beautiful tribute Dan, a very belated message I've been scrolling down catching up with your blog, sorry for your loss

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