These documentary styled paintings are all done with the assistance of those portrayed coordinating their own photo shoots and celebrating their vocations or hobbies. Together we work on how the portrait should be handled. Each participant writes his or her own biography and ends it with a positive note for all of us to ponder and live by!  Please view the entire collection at:

Duke Reading a Magazine
Fairfax, Virginia ~ 2023
Oil on Canvas
30" x 24"

Duke Smith was diagnosed NF1 as a young child. He was seen by several specialists at Shriner's hospital to confirm the diagnosis. As a child he had just a handful of surgeries to help manage some of the symptoms of NF. He, like many other patients with NF struggled in school, learning was a challenge but he persevered and graduated high school. He has a slight speech impediment which can be typical for people with NF. He didn’t develop the skin tumors until young adulthood, and now he has a lot of them throughout the body. Duke suffers from itching and pain, but he keeps pushing through. Duke feels lucky that he doesn’t have the severity of NF symptoms like many others do. Duke loves reading and especially enjoys suspense and horror stories. He has great knowledge of celebrities which he will then share facts about them during movies and television shows. One could ask him anything about celebrities and he probably could answer correctly.

Duke met his wife, Laurie, who also has NF in an online chat room for people with NF back in 2002. Duke was living in Kentucky and Laurie was living in Virginia. After a couple of months of online chatting they met face to face in Tennessee later that summer in August. They were engaged November 2002 and married in Kentucky in July 2003. They decided it was best for Duke to move to Virginia so Laurie could continue to see her NF specialists who keep her as healthy as possible. They do not have children but they share an apartment with their two cats.
Oil Portraits NF1 (United States)