Rick Harlow is a Lexington, KY based watercolor artist. His work includes landscapes, portraits and still life.

He is available for commissioned work

If You Knew Me: A Series

Two things prompted me to do these paintings.  First, I was doing community service at the Lexington Rescue Mission.  Secondly, about two months prior to the start of that service, I had a chance to have a pretty serious discussion with three homeless men. I asked each of these three men, “how should I respond to a homeless person on the street?”  These men all had the same answer, “Don’t give money because you don’t know what it will be used for; the person asking for money might be using that money to do themselves harm.”  “But it is very important to speak to that person (to not shy away from contact) and to treat them with dignity and respect.”  “And if they do have a legitimate need that you can help them with – help them!”

During my service at Lexington Rescue Mission, I got to know each of these clients whose portraits I painted.  Many of them go through life with burdens that most of us could hardly imagine; and yet they do so for the most part with joy, acceptance, and peace. I love and respect them and have enjoyed our conversations. As part of the process, each of these people was asked the same question: “What is one thing you would want others to know about you?”  You can see their answers, some funny, some serious, all of them very human.  Painting these pictures and posting their answers was a way that I could treat each of these people with dignity and respect.

I hope you enjoy viewing these portraits as much as I enjoyed painting them.