In the course of some internet wanderings, I came across an image of a beautiful woman holding her infant son. Serene faces, direct gazes, unfussy composition, gorgeous light -- right away I wanted to paint it:
"Madonna and Child" 16 x 20", oil on canvas
Afterward, I saw the power of the mother's protective gesture, and I think that's what really drew me in.
For all mothers who protect their babies with steady and loving ferocity (no matter how old they are, and especially if they've been taken before their time) -- this modern Madonna.