Aside from being paternal, in the patron saint sense, St Francis also has another relationship to my father. He used to collect St. Francis statues carved by a New Mexican artist named Ben Ortega. It may be odd for a Jewish guy to be collecting carvings of the Patron Saint of animals and Italians (I believe in that order) but Ortega carved beautiful ones, which my mom sold at the Southwestern art gallery she owned for my 10 most formative years. (Which is why I was raised by HBO.) Many a statue ended up in my parent's collection, seeing as Dad was Mom's best customer.
I guess this painting is my way of thanking Pops (and Ma!) for introducing me to Ortega's art. Not just Ben, but all of his kids, who all carved St. Francises, too. And little birdies to put on the Saints' shoulders. And not just the Ortegas. All the other artists who filled my home too, some quite literally during my Mom's semi-regular artist showings.
Little did I know how much Southwestern folk art would affect my style today. It's the art I love. It's the art I love to make, though I'm lacking the proper credentials, other than exposure. Hopefully that at least counts on an instinctual level, though.
Indeed, the art of my youth left a mark. I'm more Technicolored for it. More resplendent. More open to magic. And more importantly, more open to other people's magic. Inspired as such, I hope Dad will appreciate his first painted St. Francis. And that you all do, as well.