The Process - From Start to Finish

Once contact with the immediate family has been established, and a decision is made that I will be doing a portrait of their loved one, a certain amount of information is needed from the family. A good deal of this information comes from the Portrait Request Form and/or e-mails; however I also welcome telephone conversations and love to hear about the person. Even though this brings moments of sadness, there is always an opportunity to rejoice in the life of the fallen hero.

The sponsors who kindly help with this project quite often do not know the recipients personally. And then again, sometimes the portrait is sponsored by people who do know the hero or the family. Every now and then friends, neighbors, co-workers, service buddies, or relatives outside the immediate family of the fallen hero will sponsor a painting. Occasionally they might want the painting done as a surprise, in which case I do not have that initial contact with the immediate family. Discretion is used in all situations. Click on Request Form for further discussion of surprise paintings.

Whether the Fallen Hero painting is initiated through a discussion with the immediate family or through contact by other acquaintances, we discuss what is needed in the line of photographs. With the Fallen Hero portraits it is especially important to have high quality, and if possible, close-up photographs. When the images are received, I begin the painting just as quickly as time permits. To learn more about this, click on Painting Specifications.

My favorite medium is oil and I try to use it in the manner of the Old Masters (although that’s a tall order). In my 30-plus years of painting I have come to learn why the old masters loved this medium so. It seems that a finely executed oil painting is the most real of all portraiture. It is luminous, and the person seems to come alive on the canvas. Hopefully I give not only a likeness, but some of the spirit of these special people back to the families.

Once the painting is finished, and while it is drying, I contact the sponsor(s) and send them a digital image of the completed portrait. At this point (if not before) I also send them pertinent information about the fallen hero, such as name, rank, service tours, etc. so that they “get to know” the person they are sponsoring.

When packaging up the painting I send a few things along, such as the name(s) and address(s) of the sponsor. If the sponsor prefers to remain anonymous we honor that request. I also include in the package a professional digital image of the portrait, and my written consent that if they wish to do so they may have prints made for other members of the family. This seems to be much appreciated by the families.

The painting is then taken to the shipper, and the project is complete. If the family lives within driving distance the portrait can be hand delivered. Every effort is made to coordinate the process in such a way that it is a pleasurable experience for all. I am so grateful to those who sponsor and contribute to this important project. These paintings become joint gifts from the artist and all those who help in any way. Together we demonstrate honor and respect to our Fallen Heroes.