More Memory Project Portraits

My father and I have continued to make portraits for children through The Memory Project since first doing portraits of Ukrainian children in February (click here to see those portraits). In March we did portraits of children from Bolivia who live in an impoverished area on the outskirts of a city. My father did a caricature of a thirteen-year-old boy named Jose and I did a watercolor of thirteen-year-old Laura. My sister, Jennifer Thompson, also did a watercolor of fourteen-year-old Isidro, and my brother Thaddeus Thompson did an acrylic portrait of a Bolivian boy, Jose Michael. It was fun to do these as a family!

Laura
Jose
Isidro
Jose Michael

After doing the portraits of Bolivian children, my father and I wanted to do more, so in April we did portraits of children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I did a watercolor of nine-year-old Abati and my father did a caricature of eight-year-old Baraka. These children have very likely suffered from war, violence, displacement, and malnutrition.

Abati
Baraka

I’ve never considered myself a portrait artist, but it is a privilege to be able to do a portrait that will help a child in these circumstances realize that he or she is special and valued as an individual. While painting the portraits, I often pray for the child I’m painting, that somehow he or she would experience God’s love and care and that my portrait would in some way convey that love to the child. If you’re interested in participating in The Memory Project, you can find out more information at https://memoryproject.org/.

The Memory Project

My father and I just participated in the Memory Project, which connects artists with youth around the world who have faced poverty, abuse, neglect, violence, loss of parents, or other serious challenges. The Memory Project sends the artist a photo of a child, and the artist then creates a portrait of the child and sends it back to the Memory Project. The portrait is then delivered to the child along with a photo of the artist, with the goal of helping the child feel valued, important, and cared about as an individual.

We were sent photos of two young Ukrainian orphans, Ilya and Ivanna. Artists can make the portrait in any style or medium on paper or canvas, so I did my portrait in watercolor, and my father did his as a caricature (he has done many thousands of caricatures of children around the world). He drew the boy playing soccer, since it is such a popular sport in the Ukraine. I really enjoyed working together with my father on this project., and we’re planning to sign up again, along with my sister and one of my brothers. I’d really would encourage any artists who do portraits to consider doing this very rewarding project.

Working together in my parents’ dining room
My father sketching out his portrait, adapting a head-on view for a caricature
Ilya playing soccer
Ivanna

Joy!

I started this painting in Stephie Butler‘s watercolour portraits workshop here last August, but then got busy with life (a new grandchild) and didn’t have a chance to finish it until yesterday. I also often take a while after a workshop to let the ideas and instruction settle in my mind as I practice the techniques on other subjects, before I go back to have another go at the initial subjects. This woman’s smile and obvious joy captured my attention as soon as I saw her photo (by Steve Evans), so I was eager to paint her and attempt to share some of that joy in watercolor.