Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grandma and Grandpa Aho

18" x 24"
Acrylic on canvas

I recently visited my grandparents in Minnesota and took the opportunity to snap a few photos of this painting I did for them in 2002. I was asked to paint their portrait in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary, and after much thought and indecision about which era of their life to portray, I decided to make a collage capturing a few snapshots of them through the years.

I find portraits to be exceedingly difficult, especially when the subjects are so special to so many. Ah, who am I kidding, it's all difficult! I s'pose that's why it's so rewarding when something turns out how you want it to. Anyway, I did the best I could at the time, and as it is with most of my work, I see fewer mistakes as time passes. It's been nearly a decade, so I rather like it now. ;)

The central image is how I see them in my memories - Grandma especially. That long, dark, braid wrapped around her head every day was fascinating to me as a little girl. I was sure I would wear mine that way some day. The closest I got was two pigtail braids tied together on the top of my head in elementary school. Oh, and I also did some crazy wrap-around french braids in high school. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it didn't look anything like my Grandma's beautiful braid. :)

 This is Grandpa with two of my cousins, Lynnette and Jodie. He is adored by his many grandchildren, and partly because of his gift for storytelling. I can still hear him 'explaining' the origin of town names where we lived...."Men, "Ah-ga", "See, bee-ka". (You know what I'm talking about!) Still makes me laugh.

Here's Grandma as a young married woman with Armas, her first child, and then in more recent years, Grandpa helping her up the stairs. To the left is their home.

Grandma and Grandpa with my aunts Susan and Aila. (I think.) In this image of my grandma I can see a family resemblance to aunts and cousins that I wouldn't have otherwise noticed.

Ok, not a lot of detail here - I was working from a little 3"x3" snapshot - but this is my grandparents with all eighteen of their living children. A-maz-ing. There's my mom (Ellen) in the red shirt and yellow skirt, can you tell? ;)

As a family, we are so blessed to still have them in our lives.
They are living testimonies of the grace and love of our heavenly Father.