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Missing Child Portrait 35 by johnpaulthornton Missing Child Portrait 35 by johnpaulthornton
Portrait of a missing girl, named Polly Klaas.

Inspired by the tiny monochrome photo printed on a disposable mailer.

Painted by me in 1993.

I had been painting missing children for two years when her flier came in the mail. I painted her portrait in a single evening, with oil colors and a palette knife.

The unbearable story of Polly can be read here:

[link]

But wait.


Wait. I mean, do you really want to read about sadness? Instead, maybe you could see the colors, like autumn leaves and candy, that dance together to form her cheek.

Maybe you could carefully try to count the individual strokes of paint, or look for the shapes I wove into her smiling face...

Do you see the half-moon I imposed upon her? The moon, watching over her?

Do the details of her story matter? Do they change my portrait, which was created with faith and hope?

With great humility, this painting is dedicated to the family and friends of Polly.

-John Paul
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:iconjsmokey49:
jsmokey49 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013
we need more painters like you in the world. when i saw this i saw a beautiful girl with the glint of youth in her face and spirit in her eyes. i love your inspiration. thank you
Reply
:iconfranco2013:
FRANCO2013 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013
Beautiful brush storks and vibrant colors; well executed! :clap:
Reply
:iconrastarobb:
Rastarobb Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013
This is stunning work.
Reply
:iconmysticstar-nichan:
MysticStar-NiChan Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
POLLY KLAAS R.I.P UR BEAUTIFUL<3
Reply
:iconangelalala923:
Angelalala923 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011  Student Interface Designer
Ironic how I stumbled upon this almost exactly on the 18th anniversary of her disappearance.
Very interesting work.
Reply
:iconakuroku358:
AkuRoku358 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2011  Student General Artist
To be honest, I stumbled across this on accident while looking for pictures for an English project, but I really love what you've done. You've sincerely touched my heart. I may be fairly young, but I still know what this means and I appreciate your sense of faith and hope.
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
With gratitude,

John Paul
Reply
:iconakuroku358:
AkuRoku358 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Student General Artist
Thanks much for your warm welcome!
Reply
:iconm--art:
M--Art Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011
Stunning, was this all done wet in wet or dried layers?
I think i asked you but it would be great to have a master of the painting knife in our group, so please join [link]
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
This one was done entirely in one continuous wet single session.

No painting over.

I requested to join the group and am awaiting the response.

Thank you for asking me to join.

John Paul
Reply
:iconm--art:
M--Art Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
Your welcome and thanks for the info, is all your knife work done while the paint is wet? i have tried leaving it to dry then paint another layer but its not working very well or at least not as good as wet in wet.For larger painting i really struggle to do it in one so i,m not sure how to get over this problem.
Its great to have you in the group
Reply
:icongxz973:
gxz973 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2010
omg , you are a great artist ................
i love your job a loooooooot
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2010
I appreciate your comments. Thank you.

John Paul
Reply
:icongxz973:
gxz973 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2010
You deserve that , you are an artist full of creativity i can see this from your art ........
Reply
:iconmishelangello:
Mishelangello Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2010
wonderful work! :iconclapplz:
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010
Thank you so very much.

John Paul
Reply
:icontam2u:
tam2u Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2010
Your work is quite amazing. I will say that the story behind this beautiful girl is one that I remember. Polly Klass is a name that will forever hold a place in my heart. I went to the link and read...well read what I could through the tears. I am a mother of 4 beautiful children and cannot even begin to imagine what any of the mothers of the missing have gone through.

What you do touches the lives and hearts of so many and is people like you that help to keep the word out there. The hope alive and faith that TOGETHER we can do anything.

Tammie
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2010
Thank you for your heartfelt message, Tammie.

Thank you.

Thank you.


John Paul
Reply
:icontam2u:
tam2u Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2010
I normally would not have commented, I tend to not comment on more popukar art or artists but I could not stop myself. Your work is emotion and brings awareness. I have been reading up on the Guardian Angel Project and want to get involved just not sure how
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2010
I am quite shocked by being referred to as popular!

I always thought of myself as "the quiet guy off to the side..."

love, JP
Reply
:icontam2u:
tam2u Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2010
But you are popular on a huge scale. You are a name that MANY people know and I am always very self-concious when talking to someone like that... This year I decided I would just do it and I see that it has been a good thing.

What more could I have asked for?
A conversation with the man behind the art and some amazing work to admire.

Thank you for being so kind and so very real.

Tam
Reply
:iconrubius:
Rubius Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2009
Makes me cry. Especially "over 2 billion images of her have been distributed"
And then there's this image.. :cries:
Reply
:icontalin4:
talin4 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I read the link you gave. She seems older here than in the picture on the site in my opinion. It seems odd, to know that she would be nearing her twenty-eighth birthday right now--old enough to have started a family of her own. All that could have been. And yet... Would there have been an institute in place of the Polly Klaas Foundation? When? It would seem that through the efforts of many, her death was a life spent, not wasted. One can only wonder what might have been...

Thank you for the work you do.
Reply
:icond-i-e-g-o:
d-i-e-g-o Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am moved beyond words here. It is a beautiful gesture, and a masterpiece. :heart:
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2008
Thank you so much, Diego.
Reply
:icongromyko:
gromyko Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
The subjectivity always affects the objectivity, what to look for? what to percieve? what is behind the work? what influenced the work? this are the questions...but the work here is the answer...to see this and and yet to know this is all the more important...considering all aspects of the work is key to a greater understanding of it. Great work

G
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008
Thank you as always for your support and friendship.

We will have many adventures to come.

JP
Reply
:icondamien-c:
damien-c Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008
I saw everything before I read your comments and my first thought was: it's like she has became Nature itself. Like a lost entity of joy and color, movement, beauty...
An ode to childhood.
Magnificent.
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008
Thank you, Damien-c.

Your pal,

JP
Reply
:iconzesuri:
Zesuri Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
You painted this piece the year I was born.

I wonder..



I can't say much more.
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
you are wise and human beyond your years, kiddo.
Reply
:iconnekeko:
nekeko Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
So beautiful, just like all your pieces.
But the story made me cry :[
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Thank you for your emotion and thoughtfulness.


John Paul
Reply
:icondressupdolly:
dressupdolly Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2008
I was truly touched by the story behind this piece - great work again John! :)
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Thank you so very much.
Reply
:icondensity-tmr:
density-tmr Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2008
Beautiful - excellent style.
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008
Thank you.
Reply
:icongrandeombre:
GrandeOmbre Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008
Great painting again, you're the master!:clap:
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2008
Merci, master.
Reply
:iconmckolley:
mckolley Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful work as always.
Your paintings are always so touching :heart:
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2008
Thank you so very much.
Reply
:iconmckolley:
mckolley Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconbliss-joy:
Bliss-Joy Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Very sad. . .and terrifying. The fact that someone (I didn't actually catch who the man was) would creep into a child's bedroom. . .it's sickening. Lovely and moving work.
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008
Her story is the worst ever.

But we cannot steep in it.

We must celebrate hope and love.

JP
Reply
:iconbliss-joy:
Bliss-Joy Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
-nods- I am in agreeance with you, remember the sad times but do not dwell. Enjoy and savour the happy times.
Reply
:iconyamenja:
Yamenja Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2008
deeply moving and poignant work, as always, john paul, i pray that she is now well in spirit and believe that what you have done here will have contributed to that healing
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008
Thank you for your kind and caring words!

Your friend,

John Paul
Reply
:icontinakeriksen:
tinakeriksen Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2008
Hi John!
I try to see the painting as a symbol for hope and love for the children - that is so clear in every painting you make!
I really cannot read the tragic story behind - it breaks my heart and I choose to see the beauty in your painting and send all my admiration to you for giving so much in every painting you do!
Reply
:iconjohnpaulthornton:
johnpaulthornton Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2008
thank you, my friend!

John Paul
Reply
:iconjadedlady:
jadedlady Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
When I first looked through your gallery, I thought it would be interesting to know more about these children.
However, the more I got to know your work, the more I realized it's purpose, and I'd rather not know right now. Your work says what needs to be said.
:heart:
Reply
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