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In memory of Kyle Byrd- an oil portrait

Kyle. Oil on linen. 16x20. NFS.

Kyle. Oil on linen. 16″x20″. NFS.

First, let me introduce Kyle. I never got the opportunity to meet this young soul. All I know about him is from the people who love him. And there are so many! I asked his mom Karen Byrd to share Kyle’s story. It brought tears to my eyes:

“I would love to tell you about Kyle — he was a great kid!  Kyle was such a good baby; happy and fun and absolutely adorable.  As a toddler and little boy, he was so full of energy — he kept us on our toes ALL THE TIME!  That part never changed . . . Kyle was always what I like to call “outside the box.”  He was never a bad kid, but he always kept me hopping.  As a teenager, he was really smart.  He never had to study or work very hard, but always made excellent grades; it just came easy to him.  You just had to keep him focused so that he used his power and energy for good and not evil : )  He dabbled in about every sport at some time in his life — baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey . . . but his passions were wheels and music.  Kyle could drive anything with wheels and he could almost instantly play any musical instrument that he picked up.  When he was 2 years old, he couldn’t tell you the difference between a football and basketball or a horse and a cow, but he could drive a go cart with unbelievable skill and name all 40+ NASCAR drivers and sing the National Anthem . . . Kyle had a passion for people and for our community.  His entire life, he volunteered along side Jimmy and I at Jaycee events and charity projects — he worked on projects, coached kids’ t-ball, worked with needy kids and so much more.  Kyle also had a passion for the YMCA; he planned to be a YMCA counselor in high school.  Kyle accepted Jesus in March of 2007 at a youth retreat at our church; and he dedicated his life to God at that time, becoming very active in our youth group and with the youth puppet team.  Kyle adored his little sister and he looked after her, even though she drove him totally crazy.  Kyle was also very popular.  He was known by his friends as “The Byrdman.”  He had a beautiful girlfriend, Julieann, who is still and will always be a part of our life.  He was famous for his “neon hair” and his love of pink.  He wore pink clothes and had a pink calculator, pink notebooks and a pink ipod.  One of Kyle’s YMCA counselors said during Kyle’s funeral services “who else but Kyle could get this many ‘manly men’ to all wear pink” referring to all the men and teenagers in pink that day.  The most defining trait of Kyle would have to be his sense of humor.  He could have me so mad that I would be ready to ground him for life (or much worse) and then he would say something so totally off the wall that I would just bust out laughing…He’d do anything for a laugh.  One time, he wanted a funny Halloween costume.  That particular year, he was playing football and he had a football game that day; then he came home all sweaty from football and changed into his costume forHalloween . . . as a cheerleader.  He was so “pretty” that we had people asking us about our “daughter” — people had no idea he was a boy; and he went out with his peers like that . . . no one could believe he had such guts, but for Kyle. . . anything for a laugh.  Tesh, I miss him ever single second of every minute of every day . . . he was just a ray of sunshine, my waller monster, who loved to waller on me and hug me, unlike most teenagers, he was never embarrassed to hug and love me.  This world is a better place because of his short time here and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Kyle is blessed for the experience.  Kyle James Byrd 1/6/93 – 6/23/07 Beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin & friend . . . Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God ~ Matthew 5:8″

Thank you Karen, for sharing this and for giving me the opportunity to paint Kyle.

I started Kyle’s portrait about a year ago. I was working from a digital photograph shared Karen. This was one of her favorite photos. It was taken at Kyle’s concert under indoor lighting. Kyle, being cool, had his shades on!

I wanted to do an oil portrait and wanted to do a direct painting. I could not finish my first painting while the initial stages were still wet. I decided not to paint over dried layer of paint.

So, I started a new one yesterday. And below you can see the stages of my progress. I started by painting free hand with neutral color. My plan was to follow John Howard Sanden’s system. However, since his system is for painting from life, I had to make changes as I went along. The main challenges which I faced were the quality of light in the photo and the fact that I could not see Kyle’s eyes. However, it was very rewarding doing this portrait and it was like spending time with Kyle, getting to know him.

– Tesh

My work is online at: teshparekhart.com

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  1. WOW, Tesh! Your painting of Kyle is absolutely amazing, a whole lot like Kyle himself! You do beautiful work! My kids say that Kyle had “blonde, fluffy hair” and you captured that perfectly! Karen, Jimmy and Krysta will treasure this portrait FOREVER! Thank you for sharing this!

    Tammy Yates

  2. Tesh, this is so awesome!! It makes me smile because I remember that smile of his. You did such a great job on this!! What an amazing treasure!! Thanks for sharing your gifts and talents with others! Hugs!!


  3. Tesh, Thank you so much for the beautiful painting of our grandson, Kyle Byrd. Thanks also for printing the beautiful tribute from Karen Byrd, his Mother and our daughter. We love them both dearly as we do all of our family. We thank you for being such a good friend. Kyle was such a beautiful child in so many ways. He was very loving, very funny, full of mischief, but full of hugs. He always told me “Grandma, you can hug me but don’t touch my hair.” He did have beautiful fluffy hair. Not a day goes by that I don’t see or hear something that reminds me of Kyle. I see that beautiful smile and those mischievous eyes behind those sunglasses. He loved everything about life. He loved Jesus and his church and he had many friends everywhere he went. He was like a friend magnet that drew them to him. I thank God for the precious time that I was able to have with him and I know that God had a special place for him to call him “home” so early. We both love him so much and know that someday we will be with him again. We also know that he is smiling down on us and sending his love back to us. Love, Grandpa and Grandma Herring

    1. Thank you for your kind words and thank you for sharing your tribute to Kyle. Kyle continues to amaze me: my painting is just a little part of his portrait. His true portrait is what I learn from his beloved family and friends.

  4. This looks just like Kyle. It brought back so many memories of us back in middle school, i can’t believe its almost been 4 and 1/2 years.

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