It has been 100 years since the ending of WW1, and on this Remembrance Day, I was reflecting on the many people who have served in past and present wars, whether soldiers or peacekeepers, putting their lives in danger. Thinking about those people who are my family, friends, acquaintances, previous customers and lastly a commission for a wonderful veteran, Vera Lewis.
When I met Vera, back in 2008, it was my first year with Jack Neilson at Brushstrokes, Carleton Place. She came looking for an artist who could do a portrait of her son, Nic Lewis. Nic was a medic with Canadian Armed Forces, who had served in Afghanistan. I had been recommended, so I called and set up a consultation.
That first meeting, she shared the photograph she hoped to capture. It was a very poignant picture of a very exhausted Nic, in a helicopter. Vera explained that Nic’s friend had called to him and caught his immediate look up from deep thought. They had just dealt with the aftermath of an IED explosion, while serving in Afghanistan.
I am not sure if this event is the one he refers to in his interview with Christie Blatchford. She describes it in her book, “Fifteen Days – Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life & Death from Inside the New Canadian Army”, 2007. Where she spends 2 weeks experiencing what the troops endured in Afghanistan. I actually went and purchased the book, and read through it during the painting of the portrait.
As I was remembering this, I also realized it has been 10 years since that introduction and delivery of the completed portrait. Thank you, Nic and Vera, and the rest of the Lewis family!
Thank you to all past and present service people on this Remembrance Day!