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Father's Day

Chillax. It's the longest day of the year in these parts and it's Father's Day. A double celebration in one. The misery of winter is easier to handle knowing that a day like this awaits us. And there's no point in worrying about the fewer minutes of daylight that tomorrow brings. In Dorinda Skains's image, which she has subtitled 'Sleep when You Can', these dudes are worrying about nothing. Not job, nor mortgage, nor car insurance and little Joxser is certainly not worrying about whether he'll be bullied at school or Leaving Cert Maths or making it on to the property ladder. For now, just for now, it's a moment untouched by the hassles of the world.

Just look at them. Dad is good lookin', laid back and cool. See that earring. Were he to stand, he would stand tall and dark and strong. Eyes closed, both are snoozing and the little lad is in good hands. Safe and sound and so small, he fits his father well: lost to sleep, head on his hands and tucked under his Dad's chin, it is a completely happy image.

Colour co-ordinated, both wear white; both have wispy dark hair. Dad's is thinning; baby's a few years away from that as yet. An olive green background and bottle-green cushion highlight their world together. Lit from the left, the shirt and top flash bright; light creates a sunny glow. The contrast between big man, small man is seen in the father's protective right hand beside those little baby toes.

Skains, an American multi-media artist and former architect, uses acrylics, pastels, mosaics, ceramics and digital techniques and her work has featured in installations in education, health, hospitality and recreational facilities. Her images, as canvas prints and posters, are available online.

The Virgin Mary wins hands down when it comes to images of the mother and child in art. Fathers and sons are portrayed less often. And images of Joseph alone with Baby Jesus hardly get a look in. But then he wasn't the daddy anyway. To all fathers today, Dorinda Skains's painting says "Take it easy guys". That's exactly what this father's doing.

by Dorinda Skains

Sunday Independent