This is Jonathan. I first knew him as a builder. He would occasionally bid on projects I had designed. But when I met with him recently for his portrait he described his transition towards politics - a transition from shaping living environments to shaping an environment we can all live in. For months leading up to the elections in November, I saw his signs along the roads so when he agreed to let me do his portrait I was eager to learn more about what inspired him toward this new direction.
He told me a story of being out on his sailboat on Penobscot Bay with his grandson on a beautiful summer day. Everything felt perfect - the light, the weather, the setting, the joy in the eyes of his grandson, and the connections to everything and everyone. It all felt right. He looked at his grandson and saw that he was living in that same moment of connection with him. Jonathan described this moment and the moment that followed as one of the big pivot points in his life. The next thought he had was that his grandson would not grow up to experience this kind of world with his future grandchildren due to the impacts of climate change.
I believe moments like this are so powerful in our lives because we see the contrast so clearly. For Jonathan, he not only saw and felt this powerful contrast, he looked within himself and at his life experience and abilities and decided, to borrow a phrase from Gandhi, to make and be the change he wanted to see in the world. In talking to him, I came to see he had thought through many important issues beyond climate change and was comfortable both listening to and articulating reasoned positions. We need more politicians like Jonathan. We need more sunshine.
12x16 pencil, ink, and watercolor with Artrage.