My grandfather, der Lachender, "he who laughs".
I always have mixed feelings when I'm doing portraits. On the one hand, I'm terrified that it won't turn out to be recognisable as that person. On the other hand, I'm fascinated by the fact that one's life seems to leave marks on a person's face, like the contours of a map. They define us, these coastlines of memory. They alter the way others see us, and our faces becomes the way our past comes in contact with the world around us.
When I showed this painting to my mother, I was struck by what she picked out to comment on. Opa's teeth, the shape of his face, the nose. The small parts of her father that make him her father, unique, loved, trusted.
Maybe that's what I fear leaving out of portraits, be they of people I know or not. That I miss out on one of those small things, the combination of which makes us who we are.
A painting, however, is not a photograph. If it was meant to be perfect, I would have traced it rather than free drawn it.
I hope I could do my grandfather's story justice. This is how I see him. Vibrant, happy, full of love. A splash of colour in a world of sunshine.