Israel is growing up on a farm where chores start early and the summers are filled with playing in the creek, in the barn, or with his brothers climbing on anything off the ground. On this day, he took me to his favorite place to play, a corner of the barn loft where he could climb up through the open doorway, the wide opening where you can toss the hay bales into a waiting truck.

The farm is busy throughout the year, but no more than during the warm spring when the bees are buzzing quickly overhead and there is preparation for planting with plenty to do. And every Saturday morning starts very early as the family loads up to head to the farmer's market with as much as they can load in the van. Not only will they sell fresh vegetables, honey, and flowers, they also bake incredible breads and breakfast rolls that will go fast. Faith Mountain Farms is a place where a young boy learns how to work and how to make money from his efforts.

Israel was the first figurative painting I did and took far longer than I had planned. Of course, I wanted the results to be so unmistakeably Israel that I labored over the likeness until I got it just right. I think I captured him.