Why I created these two paintings
While painting one day, I was also creating and refining stations on Pandora which I had recently set up at the Gallery. This day I chose piano, to see what I might find.
When I would hear a piece I especially enjoyed, I would walk over to note the artist. After “liking” a few, I realized that I kept seeing Paul Cardall’s name appear on the screen. There was one song in particular, titled “Gracie’s Theme,” which was very moving to me. Such power and emotion filled the room when it played, especially when the full orchestra and drums came in to accompany the piano, that I often put down my brush, turned up the volume, and just listened, sometimes near tears. It spoke to me. I just HAD to learn more about this pianist.
I later typed in Paul Cardall on my home computer, and was quickly led to various places: his website, YouTube, and a Tumblr page. I easily found a video for “Gracie’s Theme.” While watching this, the viewer also sees a brief story superimposed on the screen. (See link to the music video, “Gracie’s Theme,“ below.)
I learned that Paul Cardall had been born with a major heart defect, eventually receiving a heart transplant as an adult. Other factual information is also displayed about treatment costs for children born with heart defects, and the Saving Tiny Hearts Society (http://savingtinyhearts.org/) which funds research for this #1 birth defect, Congenital Heart Disease. Sadly, Gracie was a child born with CHD who did not survive her struggle.
What an inspiring story as well as a moving musical presentation! Paul Cardall donates one dollar from the sale of each album, “Saving Tiny Hearts,” to this non-profit group.
I enjoyed several other videos as well, especially one about love for family (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhu6ipugqZY), and another about the music business (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF_wSxu45yg), which was actually about much more than that. These videos were a view into the genuine and kindhearted person Paul really is. He seemed like family to me.
While watching the videos I felt inspired to paint his portrait. The next morning I contacted someone on his website to receive permission to do so, and I later came to realize that the PR person with whom I communicated was his wife, Tina Cardall, a lovely young lady. Early on, I had the thought that if my plans went well, I might like to “gift” the painting to him, as a way of saying “Thank You for what you do,” and for being an inspiration to me and so many others.
Since Tina Cardall was so gracious and helpful, I suggested my gift idea to her. She was very enthusiastic about this, and we decided to keep it a secret, discussing a plan to make it a Christmas gift.
It occurred to me that I might even create two paintings, one to display in the gallery, and one for his family. I shared this thought as well, telling her that I would let her choose her favorite if I was somehow able to complete them both in time. This was September so I got busy. With a lot of help from above, I managed to do just that, with no time to spare!
The first painting is titled “Blessing.” Following are the two main source photos I used:
(Photo sent from Tina Cardall)
(Photo captured from video “Scarborough Fair”)
“Blessing” (Oil on Linen 22×28)
I loved the light streaming in through the windows surrounding him, and enhanced that aspect. Intentionally I kept the background very loose, tightening up on the foreground. The title, “Blessing” spontaneously came to me one day, and seemed to say it all in one word.
In the meantime I had begun the second painting. For this one I wanted something more formal, perhaps in concert, and with more of the grand piano visible. I had seen a video with candles burning, and started with that idea. This is a screen capture from his video: “Father in Heaven,” and was the primary source photo used:
I wanted to show more of his right hand, enhance the word “Steinway”, bring up a slight reflection in the raised top, and add something that looked more like a book of music.
From these images I created the painting, adding a greater glowing effect to the candles.
“In Concert: Paul Cardall” (Oil on Linen 24×36)
Tina chose the second one, “In Concert” for the gift. Although she loved both paintings, she especially liked this one which showed more of the piano.
Evidently it was something that pleased them both. I wished I could have been a little mouse in the corner on Christmas morning, but was delighted by a personal call from Paul, expressing his thanks for the painting. Both he and his wife told me how touched they were by the gift.
Creating these paintings has been a delight for me. My students and Gallery guests were happy to be included in the process, and as a result I have shared links to his website and videos with many people. My desire is that viewers of these paintings will perhaps sense the awesome uplifting quality I feel when listening to him play. Perhaps they will also be inspired to discover the music of Paul Cardall for themselves.
You can watch the video of “Gracie’s Theme” here:
You may also like to visit his website at: http://paulcardall.com/
Post Note: Besides just sharing a story about his music, this was an opportunity for me to “Give Back.” Painting is something from which I receive a great sense of fulfillment. It is a gift which I occasionally feel moved to share with another human being, with no strings attached. It has nothing to do with money and everything to do with inspiration and a spiritual connection. It is my way of thanking God for the many blessings I have received throughout my life. It is my hope that I might touch someone else as well. The world needs more good feelings.