Benjamin West: Beyond the Mess

June 27, 2017

Benjamin West, a famous portrait painter at the time of the American Revolution, remembers one of his earliest attempts to paint.

He had been left to care for his little sister and used the time to paint her portrait in colored inks. He was oblivious to the mess he made; when his mother, Sarah, returned she did not scold him for the disorder. Rather, she picked up his painting and exclaimed, “Why, it’s Sally!” and gave him a kiss.

That simple act of encouragement gave Benjamin an inheritance beyond worth; it gave him his future. He likes to say, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”

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