Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tulip Festival Painting - "A Faithful Walk"

Every year, the Tulip Festival Committee commissions a piece of art to be made to commemorate that year's Tulip Festival. This year, for the 75th Anniversary of the festival, they selected my friend and co-worker, John Vander Stelt. As he was developing sketches and ideas for his painting, he needed a father and son(s) to pose as models and our family came to mind. A week after Avonlea was born, we all headed to the library at Northwestern College to take some photos. It was sweaty, exhausting work (and that was just me trying to keep the boys from scratching the floors with their wooden shoes) but he was able to use some shots of Adam holding a yolk with Cohen looking into the bucket.  Read Part 1 of the painting process on his blog, including pictures from our photo-shoot day.

As he worked on the painting, I would occasionally receive Snapchats of little portions of the painting, but never the overall picture. I was SO excited to see how it would turn out. One cold day when it was finished, John invited our family over to his house to preview it before the official reveal. While Ryan went to go play toys with Jack, the rest of us went up the staircase to his studio where we saw the painting for the first time.  We.were.stunned.  Not only was the painting a beautiful depiction of Dutch life with many hidden bits of significance, but it was a museum-quality, can't-believe-we-know-someone-this-talented work of art. I could recognize Adam immediately even with only a portion of his down-turned face showing and the depiction of Cohen is spot-on down to the dimple in his chin. We really could hardly believe how amazing it was. Read Part 2 of the painting process on John's blog, including how he got the warm glow of color to come through.

Later, there was an official "reveal" at the Extravaganza and the painting was received so well by everyone in attendance, including my parents and grandma who were there enjoying the Dutch food and Queen's court costume reveal as well.  The festival sold numbered and signed prints, regular prints, and canvases (which various members of our family will have hanging in their houses). I can't wait to get our canvas framed. It will have a prominent place in our house and we can never say thank-you enough to John for choosing to include us in his project.  Read Part 3 about the reveal on John's blog including the meaning and inspiration behind the painting.

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