Portrait #15: Mr. Leo Whicker


Last Monday, September 3rd, I was walking in my neighborhood, up near The Field, and I was stopped by my friend and neighbor, Mr. Leo Whicker.

“Jennifah”, he said in his lovely southern accent, “you won’t believe what just happened! You know I love donkeys, right?”

“Well, yes sir, I do remember that! How many do you have now?” I replied.

“Well, I had four, and one of them I have over at my son’s place.  He just now called me to tell me that the donkey has given birth! And today is my birthday! I’m 85 years old today!” he said as his eyes danced like a young boy who had just been to the candy store.

We talked for a bit longer about this treat he had received on his birthday and I walked home to grab my camera.

You see, for some time now, I’ve wanted to paint Mr. Whicker’s portrait.  This is actually one of two portraits of him I am working on.  I knew he was in his 80’s, but didn’t know his exact age.  You would never be able to tell by his appearance or how vigorously he works his farms.  Yes, I said FARMS, plural.  He has at least three different parcels of land on which he raises his cows. But I’ll tell you more about that when I post the next portrait of him.

I loved working from my photo of him with his wonderful smile! I have only slightly exaggerated the blue of his eyes, which truly twinkle when he smiles.  To be 85 years old and still finding such delight in life is indeed remarkable.

0 thoughts on “Portrait #15: Mr. Leo Whicker

  1. Mary Walker says:

    Everyone says it’s something in the water that keeps people young. I think it’s something in the soil or from being around animals because farmers do age so well. The love of the world is in his eyes it’s surely a pleasure knowing him.

    • jenpedwards says:

      Yes indeed Mary! You have said it perfectly! I do think it has something to do with all the fresh air, earth, and animals he has been around all his life. Definitely a privilege to know him.

  2. Kay G. says:

    My Dad is also 85 and raises cows. I called him tonight, he had been helping a neighbor in the hay field all day and he spent most of tonight shelling peas from his garden. I wish I had just one tenth of his energy and joy of life. Your portrait shows not just the man you painted but many men like him of that generation.

    • jenpedwards says:

      You are right, Kay…it does seem that men and women of his generation have an uncanny capacity for joy. I’ve often wondered if it is because they lived through such devastating times as the Depression, and World Wars, etc. They learned to take delight in the simple things of life.

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