November 15, 2012

November challenge painting - Adulthood

"Father Frederick Hanna"
Oil on canvas  24" x 36"
©2012  Mark Adams

This month's challenge was "Adulthood" carrying forward the theme of last month's "Adolescence".  It may come as no surprise to anyone that the final challenge this year will be "Old Age."  Rather apropos, as I am turning 60 next month. Though I am tempted to paint a self-portrait, I fear my septuagenarian and octogenarian friends might scoff at the idea.  I almost copped out again this month and thought to use a snippet of a self-portrait I did back in 1990 called "Marks on Canvas."   There, within the trompe-l'œil collage-like painting, is an image of me holding my infant daughter Holly.  Probably the first time in my life that I considered myself an adult, with all the responsibilities that go along with parentage. I had finally made it.

Detail - "Marks on Canvas"
40" x 60" 

Alas, it was not to be.  My profession and indeed my very nature prevented me from fully realizing adulthood.  I'm not implying that I suffer from a Peter Pan complex, however my first wife's name was Wendy.  Just sayin'.

My next idea of what to paint for this challenge was to revisit a painting I did of my daughter and her youngest child.  Why is it that having a child seems to be the absolute personification of adulthood I wonder?  Can it be the childless remain forever young?  You may remember this painting from 2009.

"Holly and Jonahven"
Oil on panel - 6" x 8"

Instead I looked to my dear friend and recently departed Father Fred Hanna.  I have been working on this painting for over a decade.  I was loath to finish it as I have a very odd superstition that has haunted me for years. From the time I first started painting, I found that if I painted someone that I loved, they soon vanished - poof - gone.  They didn't necessarily die, but they were gone from my life.  This happened time after time.  I purposely left the chain holding Fred's cross unpainted until he finally was called home last year at 86.  What a sweet man he was.  He married my wife and me, as well as my daughter, a myriad of other friends and relatives and buried a few as well.  He was the father to us all.  You can click Fred's obituary from the Baltimore Sun to see what a great man he was.  What the article fails to mention is during his tenure as associate rector at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon, he allowed the aspiring directer John Waters to show clandestine screenings of his notorious "Pink Flamingos" in the under-croft when a venue could not be found.  Indeed, John calls Fred his first distributor.

My fellow artist's work this month:

"New Family" 
Oil on hardboard, 6"x8"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

6x6" oil on linen
©2012 Suzanne Berry


Pat Burns said...


Anne Pfeiffer said...

Do you sell prints of Father Fred's portrait? He meant a lot to me and my mom (not to mention marrying my husband and I, driving an hour and a half to the middle of no where to do so.) If I could afford it, I would love to buy my mom a print of your painting. Just let me know.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Wonderful portrait, Mark. Father Frederick sounds like a good friend to know, and a fitting inspiration for this Challenge. Thanks so much for participating!

I love "Marks on Canvas" too. It's perfect for this idea, too, but I'm happy you did a new piece for us to see.

suzanneberry said...

amazing work of art mark!! just incredible!

Don Gray said...

The portrait of Father Hanna is just luminous, Mark. And the painting of your daughter and grandchild is spectacular. Reminds me a little of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Mark Adams said...

Thanks for the kind comments everyone. They really mean a lot to me.

Don - Nice pick-up on the Pre-Raphaelites. They have been in the back of my mind ever since visiting the Tate. I've been waiting for them to come out and play with my Muse.