The painting is based on a photo that was taken on their holiday to the UK. In the background is the Thames River barrier that prevents the North Sea from flooding up the river.
Whilst painting, I kept in mind Doreen’s recollections of Leo and what sort of person he was. Doreen sent me several photos of Leo, including some later ones, where he was very ill, but still showed his cheeky and cheerful side. He had a very strong character, and I reflected this in his portrait.
Doreen tells of how Leo was a very warm, friendly, funny man. They met when they were 12 and started dating at 16 and had been married for 50 years when Leo passed away in 2016. He was successful in business and also involved with a lot of voluntary work.
Doreen wrote: “He was well liked and respected by all the people he worked with and many made the effort to visit him while he was ill. He was a very brave humble man and when he was diagnosed with Cancer he showed great courage and never complained about his situation and told us all that he was offering up his pain and suffering for all victims of asbestos related diseases”.
It was an honour to paint Leo’s portrait as I know the special place he holds in the hearts of his family and friends, and the joy he brought to many people during his life.