The Portraits exhibit is an opportunity to show an exploration using pastel on paper rather than my typical medium of oil on canvas. It allowed me to experiment in applying color rapidly with results reminiscent of my painting style. The challenge is to draw not just a human face but a specific face, and more importantly, one that captures something of the spirit of that person. Pepe is a man who has dedicated his life to the prevention of fire in our forests as well as healthcare facilities throughout Northern California. He looks at us straight in the eye with a smile that conceals much of what those eyes have undoubtedly seen. Would he tell us all if he could? His smile says he likely would not, but rather let us see a man proud of his abilities and years of service. I have seen that look before. I grew up with it. I saw it in my father’s eyes, and it reflected the best in him. Like Pepe, he was a fireman and, as such, one of those altruistic souls who run towards danger rather than away from it for the sake of others. Their dedicated spirits are gifts beyond measure, and it comforts me to see it once again.