Oil on Stretched Canvas
SOLD Collection of L. Grace
San Diego, CA – USA
About This Painting
I'm not as good at math as I should be.
And I am really lame at guessing ages.
In 1991 a little girl came into my life that would change my heart and my mind, and sway my resolutions, the subsequent blessings of which I could never have foreseen.
Because of Bethany, I have a wonderful daughter.
See, in 1991, my daughter did not yet exist, because her mother and I (mostly me) had decided a few years earlier to stop at 2 children. We had two fine boys, and were having plenty of fun, and absorbing the challenges that come with raising two boys on an artist's income.
That year our little family of 4 had season passes to what is now called Six Flags Magic Mountain and decided, for reasons I cannot remember, to take some of our friends' daughters with us. Bethany was 5, and her mother instructed her simply, "Now you hold on to Mr. Darrow's hand the whole time, okay?" Right there in her driveway before we even left for the amusement park, she looked up at me and smiled and grabbed my hand.
Like Superman too close to Kryptonite, I began to melt... little by little throughout the day, this warm, sweet, smiling little girl brought down the giant I thought I was.
At the end of the day, I didn't want to return her to her mother.
But I did. (It's the law).
Later that year we decided to expand our family and "try for a girl." And in 1992 God blessed us with a sweet daughter of our own who has been the subject of many of my paintings, and has her daddy's heart forever.
Well, in 1994 we moved away from that area, and I have never seen anyone in Bethany's family since. Fast-forward to 2007, Tuesday in fact, and I get an e-mail from Bethany assuming, of course, that I remember who she is.
I'm picturing a little smiling cutie looking up at me holding my hand, and I am mentally trying to stretch her image into an older person that has the facility to write e-mails (I told you math escapes me at times).
She attached to the e-mail a picture of her now... posing with a melancholy expression in front of a green wall... and that's when reality smacked me across the face.
She's in her early 20s now, married and just found out she's expecting a child of her own.
How did Bethany turn into a woman in what's it been three weeks? All I could write back to her was "Wow! You've grown up!" and then, "This picture looks so much like a work of art with that pose and lighting that I want to know if I can do an oil painting interpretation of it," to which she enthusiastically agreed.
I showed the finished painting to my oldest son when we got together for Thanksgiving and asked him if he remembered Bethany.
"Do I remember her?" he said, as if I asked him if he likes to surf. "If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have a sister!"
The Legend of Bethany, the 5-year-old girl who melted a man's heart, lives on.
And now she is immortalized. ◙
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