“Build Me a Boat” (portrait of Dale Reed and Daughter)
Pencil, pastel, and watercolor
August 2020
I was gratified two days ago when one of the two daughters of Dale and John Shelton Reed gave me permission to finish a portrait of Dale, which I began a year ago, when i first learned that smart, wise, extraordinarily kind (certainly to nobody-me, beginning years ago) and witty Dale had been taken suddenly and all too unexpectedly ill…..and was dying. It all happened too quickly, and i was greatly moved, a few weeks later, by the originating photograph for this portrait….which was, I gathered, of Dale and one of her grown daughters (one is a musician, and the other is an artist). I cried when I saw the photograph….and, yes, I cried (a bit, but one has to careful when working in pastels) while finnishing this today. Dale and her husband, John (go to my website’s portraits section to see my portrait of him) are among the smartest, funniest, and most caring folks I’ve ever known. The portrait will, of course, be a gift to John and his daughters. The title is taken from the lines, from an old song (“The Water is Wide”):….”Build me a boat/That will carry two/And we both shall sail,/My love and I….”. This one is dedicated to Dale Reed’s daughters and husband, John. She was, indeed, a wonder……even while dying (to be frank)?…..just look at the right arm and left hand of hers. Suffice it to say that she was remarkably kind to me….and for that I remain grateful.