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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Remembering Ryan Otto

Ryan Otto, graphite, 9x12", 2009

I received this beautiful, priceless sketch of Ryan at the first Camp Smile A Mile program for families that have lost a 'camper' to cancer. Words cannot express my gratitude to Jared, a very talented and generous artist, who gave to me this gift that has captured Ryan so completely. He even managed to capture that mischievous gleam in his eye which is awesome because of the fact that Jared never got to meet Ryan! Ryan was a sweet child who was never any trouble. He loved everyone and he loved life! Even on the worst days of his life if you asked him how he was doing, he would always say "I"m good"! I have often told people that Ryan managed to accomplish more in his 14 years than I had in 41! That's how old we were when he went to live forever in heaven. I am now 43 but Ryan will be 14 Forever. What a testimony Ryan lived to life! He touched everyone who entered his life right up to the moment he left us! I miss him more than words can ever express, so you can imagine how grateful I am to have this portrait of my son, which I will cherish forever. Thank You again and God Bless you in all your future endeavors! - Michelle Huckabee

I would like to add that I truly enjoyed doing Ryan's portrait. It is important to me that each portrait comes as close to exactly matching the personality of the photo reference as possible. Sometimes I decide to make alterations for the portrait, like omitting background noise in the setting or simplifying clothing so as not to take away from the figure's portrait. Ryan's portrait is an example of what I did in many of the Camp SAM portraits because his shirt is white. Originally, Ryan had on a colorful and slightly distracting T-shirt. I chose to give him the appearance of wearing a white shirt, as I did for many of the children's portraits. I thought this was not only better for the focal point of Ryan's face but I thought that it was rightly symbolic of the purity of youth and the sacredness of each of these young kids. It was my honor to complete a portrait for Ryan. My prayers are with his family; may many more joys come into their lives and may their memories be filled with love. - Jared Kelley

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