The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Sunday, 20 June 2010

Father's Day - 'The Saint Christopher'

Isn't it funny how you don't see something for years and then suddenly when you do, it has the power to take you right back to the place where you saw it last?

This happened to me just a few days ago...

My Daughter, Adele, has recently passed her driving test and since then, she has been here, there and everywhere! This includes a visit from time to time, to see my my parents.

The last time she was there, she came home cupping something carefully in the palm of her hand. She told me that she had something very special to show me and when she opened her hand I recognised it immediately. As soon as I saw it I was momentarily back in the South of France on a family holiday, which I can only assume must have been the last time I saw it. It was the most powerful feeling! How odd!

What she held in her hand was a Saint Christoper and I had not seen it for years. The Saint Christopher had belonged to my Dad. I have since learned that he bought it fifty years ago when he was just fifteen years old with either his first or second wage packet, from a jewellers in Addiscombe near Croydon. He thought it would keep him safe and he used to wear it around his neck. There came a point where the chain must have broken because he stopped wearing it - but he would still carry it with him when ever he went away.

Before my Dad settled down to create his family, he had led a very colourful life. He did many dangerous things; sky-diving to name just one of far too many to list! He travelled the world and back again with his Saint Christopher and he never came to any harm. My adventurous side definitely comes from my Dad!

On Adele's visit to my parents, my Mum - who worries a lot - had showed some concern about her driving on motorways and long journeys, which Adele has already started to do. My Dad disappeared upstairs for a few moments and returned with something very special which he gave to Adele. It was his Saint Christopher. 
Aside from being new to driving, Adele is at that age where choices are not always wise. He said that it wouldn't necessarily bring her luck, but it would keep her safe. 

She clearly understands how special it, since in all of my early memories of my Dad, he is always wearing the Saint Christopher, so it is almost like a little piece of him. She has promised to look after it.

The following night I woke up with a sense that I needed to paint the Saint Christopher, so I borrowed it from Adele just for an afternoon whilst she was at home and I painted it for him. 

Now for the strange part - Ordinarily an initial sketch of this kind would take a little adjusting here and there, right? But not this one; I didn't pick up my eraser even once. Every stroke of the pencil and every brush mark seemed to just naturally happen in the right place. It was almost like my hands weren't my own - like I was drawing over an image that was already there. I am rarely so confident when I draw, but this time I had no concern at all. I just knew that where ever my pencil travelled on the paper, it was in exactly the right place. I could almost have shut my eyes. It was like it was painting itself. That is the first time this has ever happened to me.

Once it was finished, I wrote a special message on the back of the painting and then put it in a frame to give to my lovely Dad for Fathers Day 'so that he will still be safe too'.

This is the Saint Christopher, along side it's painting...

© Sandra Busby

This is the painting finished and in it's frame...

© Sandra Busby

Happy father's day Dad. Love you lots xxx


  1. Loved reading your post Sandra and the story behind your Dad's St Christopher! It sounds like it was meant to be, you painting it. It is a wonderful painting and almost life like. I know the feeing of teenagers in their cars, my son is (as we speak) on his way home from a weeks holiday with mates. I'm so fearful of his long inexperienced journey home (6hr drive).But in a way, I know St. Christopher is with him... as he has one hanging round his neck!

  2. What an affectionate gesture Sandra, I am sure this painting will be his priced possession. His intention to give it to his grand daughter is positively strong and so it will definitely serve the purpose it was meant for. I relate to what you are trying to say about how you were intuitively guided, it happens when the thoughts are in tune:-)

  3. Very nice story endeed Sandra. Your painted version of St Christopher is incredibily similar to the original, congratulations for this fantastic work. Ciao.

  4. Sandra what a beautiful and amazing story! And your painting is truly gorgeous, I can tell that it just flowed out of your hand, I love it :)

    I love this post, lots and lots :):)

    P.S. Does your Dad want to swim with sharks too, or maybe he already did? ;)

  5. This post moved me to tears. It seems Adele is a very caring daughter and like her mother a lovely person.

  6. Debbie, thank you for your lovely comment about the painting. No doubt your Son is fine and dandy - I am sure us Mum's will worry no matter how old our children get!

    Padmaja, Dad loved it. He says he has hung it right by the front door so Saint Christopher can always see when he is going out and so he still gets looked after. I thought that was a great idea!

    Tito, thank you for such a lovely comment. This is the only painting I have ever done where I don't have any problem with it! It's all, mighty odd as I am never usually entirely happy with any of my paintings!

    Crystal, thank you for taking the time to pop in before your trip away! I'm glad you like it. Swimming with sharks is one thing he hasn't done (as far as I know), and he doesn't want me to either! But, I did agree not to go sky-diving because he didn't want me to - so I will still be swimming with the Great Whites beyond the cage, should I ever get the chance, and I will just have to tell him afterwards!

    Ralph, thank you so much. I am very touched by your lovely comment. It is so lovely to know that a painting of mine can have such an effect.

  7. Sandra, I left acomment on this a day or two back, but it seems to have gone into hyperspace somewhere!
    Your painting is very accurate, and what a scary experience you had painting it!
    With this accuracy, I would love to see you put your talent to portrait sometime.

  8. Hi Frank. Lovely to hear from you and thank you! Hmmm... I know I should try portraits and I have done in acrylics but trying it out in watercolour??? I think I need to get used to them first. At the moment I am still experiencing all sorts of problems! But, once I am more confident I will give it a go :0)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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