This is a commission for some friends, a portrait of their son who died in open heart surgery. He was born with some problems in his heart, and the surgery was meant to fix those problems. He was a very special boy, loved and remembered by many of those who came in contact with him.
To really customize the painting for my friends, I used the toys he played with as the subjects for the wallpaper background. Zach has a little sister who was the same age that he was when he died at the time I painted the portrait, so we dressed her in his sunday clothes and had her pose for the portrait. I then used pictures of Zach to paint him in her place.
After I finished the painting, I asked my friends if they felt like I had captured their son, to which they replied: "well, yes, except that during life he was sick so his skin tones never looked as rosy and alive as you have painted them". I took this as a compliment and thought it was a neat thing to be able to paint a healthy portrait of their son for them, a portrait of the way he looks now.