My dad started a tradition in my family. You see, he wanted to be an artist when he was young but came to his senses and studied chemistry and engineering instead. He now has his masters and a PhD, but once a year he goes back to the the passion of his youth and he paints. As kids, my brothers and I would paint alongside my father, inspired by Bob Ross (oh there’s happy little cloud). We would start out by slathering on a white base and slowly bring the picture forward. My dad would come around and see how we were doing and usually take over for a while making us look really talented when we brought them in to show off in art class.

Starting in high school we made this a sort of permanent tradition. We paint at Christmas. We go out and buy some canvasses and usually more acrylics (lots of white) and give them to my dad as an early Christmas present. A week before Christmas we are supposed to pick out what we want to paint, but I always wait until the last minute.

This year we had to paint at Thanksgiving. As we get older it is harder to come together for every holiday, but amazingly we manage to see each other at least once a year even with one of my brothers and his wife in Texas, and my youngest brother practically in Canada. So this year we had a big family Thanksgiving and so moved our painting schedule up for the festivities. We have a family art gallery in the stair well of our house, and paintings are all overlapping each other. That is, except for my dad’s paintings. They are all framed and hung around the house. He is kind of good and usually paints with oils instead of acrylics which I guess is harder? Or maybe just a matter of taste.

Anyway, I thought I would share my inspiration for this past year’s painting of mine and show you the finished product as well. I think this was the most difficult painting for me. I even started completely over at one point. Unlike Thomas Jefferson, “putting up and pulling down” is not among my favorite amusements. It is frustrating. I think it was so difficult because I was trying to paint realistically. In the end, this comic book style works for me, all except for my depiction of Molly which leaves something to be desired.

The original picture taken by me at Appomattox Court House NHP of my fiance and our dog Molly in the rain.


My artistic adaptation done with acrylics and lots of patience.

Thoughts of Appomattox

So you can see I am not really an artist, but I enjoy doing it (most of the time) and usually love the outcome. Maybe you could start a tradition with your family and friends, too.

Here are a few previous paintings of mine as well. Maybe they will inspire you to try painting for yourself.


Also, here are some of my family’s paintings. You can see we all have our own styles.

Mom 2009
Mom 2009
Dad 2008
Timothy 2008
Jonathan 2008: Incomplete portait of us as children (I'm the baby)
Christopher 2008
Dad 2008

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you have a great Monday!