Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Case Study #71 - Júlio Enjoying the Afternoon


"Júlio Enjoying the Afternoon" Oil on Canvas. 2020. 30" x 24"
Born in Brazil, Júlio César is a 33 yr old man currently living in Mateus Leme. Júlio was 6 months old when he was diagnosed with NF1. He is one of 5 kids including his 4 brothers and sisters. Júlio was adopted so he is not sure if his birth parents had NF or not.

Prep Sketch
Júlio does not have a job and currently lives with his mother who takes him to his various doctor appointments since he cannot drive. He has had about twenty surgeries due to his NF, mostly when he was younger. These took place in Rio De Janeiro. Now he goes to the NF Clinic in Minas Gerais. His doctor, Dr Luiz Osvaldo studies NF treatments in the United States to keep current. Júlio is apart of a NF group in Brazil mostly online through a WhatAp group.

Because of NF, Júlio was born without his left eye. Having just one eye is something he is used to now, so it doesn't really bother him. Besides the large plexiform tumors on his head, he also has small tumors covering his body. He also has a plexiform on his arm as well as his belly and back. The doctor is concerned about the tumor on his arm but is waiting to see what happens.

Júlio likes to travel. His favorite place to go to is the beach often especially in the town of Guarapari. He says that he has a nice quiet life.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

NF: Nebraska - David Ware, Lincoln

Prep Sketch for either large scale charcoal drawing or an oil painting
I drove down to Lincoln, Nebraska as finals were wrapping up for Fall semester: December 17, 2019. It was a beautiful day, sunny and temperatures in the 40s, no winter weather which is a blessing this time of year. When I got to David's apartment, he was waiting for me and had a Coke ready!

I spent about 2.5 hours at his place drawing him and chatting. Growing up in Texas, David is the youngest of three sons and the only one in his family with NF. When he would ask his dad at what age he was diagnosed with NF his dad would just cryptically quip "You were born with it!" That seemed to be the extent that his father wanted to talk about his diagnosis. His brothers are in town, but they don't get together too often, mostly just at holidays.

David talked about how he got bullied as a youngster for his NF as not too much was known about it while he was growing up. He graduated from high school in 1973 and went on to get a business degree. After working for many years, he finally went on disability due to his NF. He currently has two inoperable brain tumors, depression, ADD and is on several medications due to his NF. He feels lucky to have a van in town that picks him up to take him to his local doctor appointments. He used to be able to drive, but he can no longer do that. He doesn't really miss driving that much, but he does miss the freedom that comes from being able to drive.
Drawing done from life while sitting at David's apartment

Because of his NF, he lost his eye and was recently outfitted with a glass eye. I, personally, think his glass eye looks amazing and it fits really well into the socket. He had been wanting one since he was a teenager, but no doctor wanted to take on the challenge of removing any good eye tissue. He finally met a doctor that would do it and he is so happy with the results.

As I was drawing his portrait, David told me that he had been married for awhile to a woman in Utah who also had NF as did her son. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last and David returned to Nebraska. They had met in a Facebook chatroom, but he has not gone back to the chatroom since.

David spends his time now enjoying his aquarium filled with colorful fish. He cares for his succulent plants and uses his window sill to line them up making a rainbow of color from the plant holders. He is currently looking for opportunities to showcase his photography skills as his apartment is adorned with all of his plant and fish photos. He is a big Husker football fan and loves Nebraska. When I drew his portrait from life, I told him he could sit in the chair I was sitting in if that was more comfortable than sitting on the couch. His couch is so comfortable that he told me he will often fall asleep right there instead of getting up and going to bed.

David allowed me to take several photos of him feeding the fish and just lounging on the couch. I typically paint 30" x 24" oil paintings of people with NF just doing what they enjoy so I may still do that painting, but there was something about the comfort of him laying so casually the entire time on the couch that got me thinking differently. Typically, when someone has never been drawn before from life, they ask me over and over again if they are sitting okay or if they should sit a different way. Not David. I told him to be comfortable and he did just that! It was a treat to draw him and I am thinking this sketch might either become an oil painting or large charcoal drawing.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Case Study #7 & #70 - Henry Checking the Weather

Prep Sketch for Henry Checking the Weather
2019 ~
6 Years have passed since I completed the original painting. I was fortunate enough to have an exhibition at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri this year. I've been exhibiting this painting around different venues since I painted it. After 6 years, my son is no longer a 4th grader with a pocket weather alert system. He is a sophomore in high school who would never wear a plaid shirt and he hates wearing jeans as well. He typically only wears long sleeved t-shirts of his favorite teams (KC Chiefs being his all time favorite). I wish I could say that he wears a coat when there is snow out on the ground, but he goes without whenever he can. He uses his phone to check the weather now. He has not changed his mind about his vocation as he still wants to be a meteorologist. The new sketch simply reflects the same theme, but is much more who he is today.