In 2011, we learned that our three much-loved grandchildren and their awesome parents would be moving from New Zealand to Canada. The excitement created by the opportunity was also flavoured with a little sadness for us as we considered the many simple and special moments we would miss out on.
A few months before they left NZ shores, I commissioned David to paint our grandchildren; however, the idea first began long before my own grandchildren were even born, when I saw one of my favourite Knowles paintings, ‘Millenium. What began as one painting, evolved into a series and until my commission, there were only three in existence, and I understand that there is just one currently available for sale. For me these paintings embody a happy childhood and tell a story many Kiwi families can relate to, a day at the beach.
David and Mary Knowles have four wonderful children. Often in the course of David’s work, he has used them as models.
Youngest son Lincoln posed as a bulldozer driver when David decided he wanted to paint this huge ungainly but very productive machine when it was parked down by the river near their home.
Their two daughters feature in many paintings. Youngest daughter Maria’s journey on canvas began with ‘First Victory’ and continues to this day with‘Butterfly II’.
Alex and Catherine featured in the first ‘Millenium’ painting.
Certainly for me, many of my favourite childhood memories were created at the Beach. I wished to have my own grandchildren portrayed on canvas.
What began with a thought those many years ago, followed through with discussions and sketches, but then we ran out of time for the ‘sittings’ as our daughter, son-in-law and the children left our beaches for the snow. Within the first two weeks of 2012 the kids were perfecting a Canadian accent and learning a new national anthem.
I felt I’d lost the opportunity to commission my own ‘Millenium’ painting. It was then that David suggested I take lots of photos when we travelled to Canada six months later, and he would continue with his sketches in order to create a happy moment for us to appreciate at home.
|| “Millenium III”, was completed in time for my birthday in November 2012. It is placed in our living room where we spend a lot of our time with good friends and family.
In a way the children share these moments with us, we are constantly reminded of their specialness. For me our chosen commission has become a ‘living force’ in our home. It seems to be a common feeling among others who have commissioned family portraits.
The children are always in our in our hearts; they may be in Canada but they are also with us.