How My Sicilian Great Grandfather Inspired MY Family Heart Portrait Paintings

My brother Rocci, Great Grandpa Salvatore and Little Ol' Me
My Brother Rocci, Great Grandpa Salvatore and Little Ol’ Me

As a young girl growing up in a large Italian/Irish family, my great grandfather from Sicily, who’s name was Salvatori Cancilla, always said in Italian, “il sangue non’e acqua ” or “Blood is thicker than water”.

The reason I knew he said this is because my Dad said it all the time too. He would recite it as a gesture of deep wisdom and a type of golden rule in the handbook of family love & allegiance. Although sometimes Dad said it in different tones, nevertheless, it was a poetic statement that has withstood the test of time, over and over again. And I have passed this golden rule down to my children, as they will pass it to theirs. Family is everything to me, the special internal love connection, the honest commitment of assisting each other through thick and thin, the unique jokes of experiences only we know.

Family is an important aspect in our culture and for me it is the life bread of the human race. Perhaps that is how I found my way to my signature ‘Family Heart Portraits’. It is my way of celebrating not only the family as a unit, but the unique blend of individuals  that come together in a common bond of creating the past, present and future. Not to be too lovely-dovely.  I know all families have their ups and downs , but the bond is what I am talking about, the deep commitment to creating the relationships and positive memories, now and in the future.

Family love is a special love that enhances the life energy of the entire group. Having an opportunity to celebrate a family of hearts coming from a common point of origin and sharing the true inner soul connection of pure love and pure commitment with bright colors and emotional brushstrokes is not only an honor, but gives me great joy.  Whether I am painting a young couple in love, newlyweds, a couple having their first baby, a family that has been together for a very long time or a couple renewing their vows, each painting is a unique love story, an expression of team spirit, made of individuals standing side by side and contributing to each other’s survival, while celebrating the unique flair of life energy of each family member and all the colorful emotion they share as a whole!

And with all the life I’ve lived, I do believe that  family love is thicker than water, but I also know that it is because we have made it so.

Debbie's Heartworks Gallery in Historic Downtown Campbell
Debbie’s Heart Portrait paintings celebrating LOVE,  family and couples



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