Axel with His Mother’s Viola


Oil on Canvas | 34″ x 40″ | 2016

I began this composition on the day my son discovered his mother’s viola case buried behind canvases in my studio. He became fascinated with it, quickly discarding his toys to spend nearly an hour playing for his parents. We had been reading Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin, so music was very much a thing of much interest around the house.

The toy car at bottom-left is missing its left-front wheel, a prop I added to the composition to remind him many years from now how much he enjoyed taking his cars apart, wheels first.

A motivation for this composition is another painting from 16 years ago with Karen holding the same viola. I liked the idea of painting her son, 16 years later, taking up the very same instrument she played for me at the time I painted her canvas.

Karen with a Viola