Henry Bush, Age 6, Oil on canvas

Henry Bush, Age 6, Oil on canvas

I few years ago I painted this portrait of a six year old boy named Henry.

And I keep returning to it because I think it perfectly encapsulates what my mission is, which is to help children feel loved and valued for who they truly are.

I do that by getting to know them, interviewing their parents, and then capturing that in a portrait. A portrait that celebrates them and only them.

I get asked all the time if I do group portraits. I don't, and this is why: my work is all about celebrating an individual child, making him or her feel loved and special.

And the fact is, you just can't do that in a group portrait.

So Henry's portrait and all the other kids I've painted are just about them and only them.

The real Henry

The real Henry

Henry was so cute, just a really calm and sweet child. He loves books, as you can tell. He was particularly into a series called the Magic Tree House, and he told me all about it as I was doing his portrait.

Henry is sitting on the couch, relaxed with his legs folded up underneath him. He has a calm and pleasant expression because he's doing his favorite thing.

The colors also reflect his personality. The soft blues and whites serve to emphasize his calm and happy demeanor.

But then his dark vest really makes him pop, so he's the center of the portrait. He's the focus.

I know his mom Katherine will treasure this special age in Henry's life as he gets older, and I hope he know how loved and valued he truly is.