Blog / 2023 / Remembering My Papa
July 6, 2023
My father was a super safety nerd. Going to mow the lawn? Don’t forget your protective goggles and noise-muffling headphones. Have a root growing through your sidewalk? Here’s some neon orange spray paint to mark it until you can cut that tripping hazard right out. Need his table saw to build stretcher frames for your canvases? Nope, he’ll be doing that for you, because you’re his little girl and therefore completely incapable of manly things like using power tools.
Okay, that last one’s spiced with resentment for a binary which my father wholeheartedly promoted, but you get the point. The man loved safety!
And when he got an electric wheelchair, his obsession went into overdrive, especially when he was taking his ride outside to go for a roll.
- The hat and sunglasses to protect his head and eyes from harmful UVs, but also to ensure that he could see well in the bright light.
- The orange flag sticking up from the back of the seat, giving extra visibility for any cars he might encounter on his quiet suburban street.
- The wheelchair’s seatbelt, buckled properly.
- The gloves, which, even in July when the photo was taken, might have been for warmth but were also almost certainly there to protect his hands if he were to fall.
I’ve painted my Papa a lot over the years—you can see just some of the portraits in this post I wrote right after he died last year—but I think this portrait is my favorite.
Because the thing is that I’m not unlike him, as is obvious by the way I rock a parasol whenever I’m out in the sun, for example.
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