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During the fall season of 2002, my mom asked me to do a graphite pencil drawing for her friend, Les. The portrait was to be a Christmas gift.
A worn little photo of Les’ uncle was emailed to me. The picture was taken sometime in the 1950’s near the cranberry bogs of Warrens, Wisconsin. In it, a young man was standing with his truck. This truck had been severely overloaded with logs, and was tilted up on its axles by over 30 degrees. Because the wheel rims were badly damaged, he had a pretty bumpy ride home that day. Nonetheless, this guy is smiling from ear to ear in his old overalls, and you can just feel the mischief rolling out of the picture. This picture was an absolute joy to draw, and that is how I met Kermit. Consequently, this page is dedicated to Shirley and her beloved Kermit.
Indeed, I had come to one of manycrossroads in life in the spring of 2003. I was working 2 part-time jobs, juggling my art career, my frame-shop, a naughty bichon puppy, and my family of five kids. Ultimately, something had to give, and I was leaning towards letting go of the art.
I’ll never forget the moment when I opened the mail and found this fantastic letter and poem from Shirley. I’d never met her before, but her words touched me deeply and helped me to make the decision to keep following the path of the artist. She reminded me that God calls us to do more than simply survive. He has a path for each of us to follow, and He gives us the tools that we need to walk where He wants us to. Like Jonah, I’ve always managed to find other things to do. That year I stepped out in faith, buoyed by a letter from a kind stranger. In that case, I made the decision to keep creating art.
Shirley asked me to draw this second composite portrait a little while later. It is a graphite pencil portrait of Kermit in his welding uniform at Trane company. The little boy in the picture is his son, sitting on the floor and playing with his trucks. Adorably, he is also dressed up like his dad in matching overalls. I also digitally cleaned up the photo of Kermit so that Shirley could have a brand new photo to replace the old damaged one.
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