Friday, January 5, 2007

Yom and Karuna (1984)




















In spring of 1975, I was working in a large warehouse as an industrial sewing machine operator, assembling ski pants with eight to ten women of various ages. One day, a large group of Vietnamese women was introduced to us as our new co-workers. They were among the first group of refugees who came from Vietnam after the war ended. I became friends with Yom (the name she took when she came to the United States), who was close in age to me and who had spent some years as a young girl and young woman in what sounded like a Catholic orphanage and who had not been adopted. A family had sponsored Yom to come to the United States after the war ended. They helped her until she was able to live on her own.

Sometime around the time I began doing the pastel drawings I've been posting, Yom went to India as a volunteer working in an orphanage and there she made friends with Karuna. Yom had some hopes of adopting Karuna but wasn't able to adopt her. Yom brought me her favorite photo of Karuna, along with a photo of Yom and said that she would like to commission me to do a drawing with both of them together. I told her that it might take a long time for me to do the drawing, but that I would give it a try. I didn't have the confidence that I could get a good enough likeness. A year later, after much procrastinating, I sat down and did the above drawing, which is a good likeness. Yom loved the drawing.

This is one of two drawings that I did on a commission basis during the early 1980's. On a third occasion, I was commissioned to paint a Muppet mural on the wall of a child's bedroom. All three commissions were successful, but I found that doing commissions was extremely stressful for me and have not done any since then.

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