I’d like to apologize for my lateness to those of you who wait for these posts. It’s quite hard to write an entry when you’re in Florence being silly with friends you haven’t seen in over 6 months. Being back there really did me some good. Visiting again was like seeing an ex girlfriend. You’re still attracted to her and that little voice in the back of your head says “maybe it can work this time?”.  I fell for the charm of that city, but I know I belong here in Paris. I’ll end my comparison to ex partners here because I’ve spent 5 minutes coming up with side hoe jokes.

Sandra Bland

On a more serious note, Sandra’s portrait is done. There is a part of me that wishes I never had to paint this or at least for completely different circumstances. A family lost a wonderful person due to police brutality. She wasn’t the only one who lost her life in jail that month. We can’t forget the other six who will never make it back home. We can’t forget the countless African Americans that have lost their lives due to racism. I don’t know where to begin with how vile her “mugshot” was. Sandra was known as a very positive person and full of light.  In her last video she said “go out there and be the greatest thing that you can”. This is the image we need. This is how we will remember her.

I thought I can lighten the mood and write something funny to end this on a cheerful note, but I don’t think I can. Even though her painting is hanging out front in my gallery, I feel she’s really gone now. Completing a portrait is always difficult and I mean that in an emotional way. While I work with the subject, it’s like we’re bonding. We’re getting to know each other. We’re in the present. Now it’s done, and it’s in the past. One thing that does make my day a bit brighter is seeing her smile when I open in the morning and close at night.