This is the Harvey family, and from everything I've read and been told - they were pretty remarkable and deserve to be known for so much more than their unimaginable fate. Bryan Harvey was a locally known singer/guitartist, who had put his career on the back burner to help raise his adorable daughters, Ruby (4) & Stella (9), alongside his wife, Kathryn, the owner of Carytown's World of Mirth.
About a month ago I was asked if I would be interested in illustrating the family using the above photograph for a news feature in the January issue of Richmond Magazine, which would mark 10 years since this sweet family was brutally murdered in their Richmond home.
I thought about it. For one thing, I don't do portraits anymore, for another - this would be a high pressure job. There would be no room for mess ups, this had to be good, really good, because they deserved it.
In the end I went for it. I took special care on each face, telling myself over and over again that I had to get this right. I remember working on it over Thanksgiving vacation at my mother in law's home being surrounded by family, which helped distract me from the sadness of the drawing. One of the nights that we were there, I was the last to go to bed, working late to finish one of their faces when it hit me, the reality of why this drawing was being made. I thought of my family, my little nephews, just a couple years difference between them and these little girls, I thought of my Ben, and my heart just broke. I have never had this much of an emotional response while creating a drawing, which is interesting to me considering these are people I never knew.
I have to think there's a silver lining to this, otherwise I'll go crazy, because a four year old being murdered is just about the most senseless thing I can think of. It eases my mind a tiny bit to think that they're all together now, in some place free of fear and pain. Maybe there's something to be learned from this too... maybe it's just to hug your friends more, tell your family you love them more, and to go after what you've been dreaming of because you never know when it will be taken from you. Nothing in this life is permanent.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand on that note, I'm going to shift this blog to a happier place, and thank Richmond magazine, specifically Sarah Lockwood, for reaching out and trusting me to do this. Also, a big thank you to Mark Robinson, who did such a great job writing this feature, I am flattered to have my art accompanying it. If you would like to see the story + my drawing, you can pick up Richmond magazine at your local Barnes and Noble, Martins, Ellwood Thompson, and any of the other locations listed here.
Feature starts on page 32, and continues on 34.
There's a little headshot of me! Listed with other contributors to the magazine.
Seeing my name here is pretty cool/flattering/awesome/yay/whoopee!
Can't get to one of the stores that sells Richmond Magazine? Read the feature online by clicking here.
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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