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Results of the Mother and Child Project

May 24, 2011

Dear Everybody,

Thank you so much for following this project. Because of your help we’ve been able to raise over $2000 for Camp Kesem, benefiting children whose parents have cancer. This is the final week to make a purchase contributing to this cause.

Thanks also to all the adoptive mothers out there who responded so favorably toward this painting on the left. I didn’t realize how many of you there are out there. Here’s a shout out to all of you and the families you are making.

And a huge thanks to C Jane for making this project possible.

My Sisters Emily and Angie

Now I want to tell you about the part of this project that meant the most to me. Two of the paintings were based on photos I took of my sisters with their babies. The sister on the right is Angie. She and her baby were the inspiration for painting number 11. The sister on the left is Emily. You can see her here in the NICU with her little preemie, born three months early. What a torturous three months, in and out of the hospital, leaving that baby girl behind attached to tubes and miles away from home. I imagine many of you have been through similar experiences, and have relied on the love and support of friends and family to get you through those tough times. For me, that’s what painting number 10 is all about. So here’s the story of painting number 10, as explained in a blog post by my sister Emily:

“Follow this link to my famous brother’s blog so you can see the coolest project ever.

Now, I know you’ve seen this:

And now that you’ve been over to Kirk’s blog, you have seen this:

Mother and Child (Blue Pacifier) by J. Kirk Richards

And now this is the part where I wish I had told you about these things a long time ago. So that you could have followed the project with me. Then you would have known that of all 14 beautiful paintings that Kirk made, there were only two for which he used photographs as references. (The other one was #11. Based on a photo of my sister Angie and her baby.)

If I had told you about these things a long time ago, you would already know what Kirk said about this painting when he posted it for me to see:

“Hey Em. I took an unexpected turn with this painting. I hope you like it, but if not, I completely understand. I was going to leave out the blue pacifier, but ended up painting it in late last night. I actually got goosebumps when I painted it in, thinking about everything you and your baby girl have gone through–the only time I got a shiver down my spine during this project:)”

And you would already know how sincerely I was contemplating trying to buy it. It has been my dream to own an original J Kirk Richards, and the subject matter of this particular painting seemed particularly appropriate to hang in our home.

So, you may imagine my disappointment when Weston and I arrived at the art show to discover that the painting had already sold. “Well,” I thought, “At least that makes the decision easier for me.” Though I struggled to understand who would have snatched it up so fast? Who in the world could possibly have attached that much meaning to this painting to buy it as soon as it was finished?

Who indeed?

When I pressured Kirk’s wife, Amy, to tell me the identity of the buyer, she brilliantly evaded the question with a vague reference to someone who follows the blog. And together they succeeded at keeping it a secret from me for nearly three weeks.

Until last Friday, when after taking my in-laws to the Carl Bloch exhibit, we decided to make a”spontaneous” stop in at Kirk’s house to show Weston’s parents what remains of the art show. Little did I know, it had all been carefully orchestrated.

I was surprised to find that the buyer of the Blue Pacifier painting had still not claimed it. But was glad it remained there so I could show Rex and Margo. I remained completely oblivious to all conceivable clues up until the very last minute (including the fact that Kirk had the video camera rolling.) Amy mentioned that she thought she remembered the buyer of the painting being acquainted with the Ricks. To which I blindly replied, “Really???” She thought the name of the buyer was written on the back and tried to get me to take it off the wall to read the name. I declined….as I am intimidated by original art. She took it down for me and turned it around so I could see the note, which read:

Purchased by Weston Ricks for his lovely wife.

This was followed by complete shock and perhaps a tear or two. What do I love about the painting? I love the fact that, even though it was not Kirk’s intention to create either one of us in a perfect likeness, the baby really is Angelyn. I also like that the thing that sets this painting apart from all the others in the series is that it contains modern baby accessories (including a famous hat by Liz Frost).

Best Mother’s Day gift and most perfectly executed surprise, ever.

Thank you, Weston.

I love you.

Wow! Thanks Em and Weston.

And I can’t finish this project without showing everyone what I gave my own mom for Mothers Day: a print of her favorite from the series, Mother and Child Sleeping. My Mom spent long hours teaching me music as a child, which eventually translated into art. Each of my paintings is a sort of song.

One last shout out to my beautiful Amy. She is the one that packaged all those prints and shipped them out to you. We had a few hiccups, but Amy did an amazing job keeping everything organized. By the way, I’ve just got to tell you: Amy has her debut art show featuring thirty five beautiful mini Tennessee Landscapes one month from today at the Flagship Deseret Book in SLC.

Now I guess it’s time to move on. I’m excited for the next series. I’m planning on painting a series of singing angels, and incorporating actual hymns into the wings. You can help me by emailing me a photocopy of your favorite hymn in your mission language. I will actually embed the hymn in my next series of paintings. Subscribe to this blog if you want to follow the singing angels project. Thanks again!!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2011 12:31 pm

    What a beautiful project and fantastic paintings. I can really see the emotion behind the subject, and as always, love your work.

    Crystal

  2. May 29, 2011 7:02 pm

    I am one of the adoptive moms that purchased that painting and I just want to say thank you for painting it! I saw it and felt such a connection and had to have it. We absolutely love it in our home. It is us.

  3. Amy permalink
    May 29, 2011 11:04 pm

    I was so pleased to receive my print (for an adoptive mother waiting to pick up her new baby boy from Ethiopia) and my cards. I am excited to select them to send to special friends and mothers throughout the upcoming year. What inspiring and interesting work. Thank you!

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