Soul Portraits

Dylan – A Soul Portrait Memorial Commission by Christina DeHoff

24″ x 30″ Oil on canvas by Christina DeHoff

Dylan’s layers were many and this portrait is a celebratory painting of his joyful and expansive spirit.

Capturing the essence of the spark in Dylan’s eye was my focus as the painter. Once I was able to communicate the light in his eyes, the rest of the painting unfolded with what felt like guidance from Dylan. One of the most amazing and confirming moments while starting this painting was when Rasta colors landed on the canvas. Literally.

Dylan needed these colors and the symbol of Rasta culture to be a strong part of the painting. I literally talked out loud to Dylan in my studio and said something like.

“Dylan, I really don’t know where to put these colors. I’m having trouble getting over my own dislike of them in your painting. Help me figure this out so they add to your painting and communicate what you want them to”.

I was guided to create a stream of light and energy emanating from Dylan’s heart and chest area. This is where the red, green and gold needed to be incorporated.

I have a crystal prism that hangs in my studio window and sometimes reflects rainbows around my walls but the light has to be just right and my shades are often closed around it for painting purposes so this hadn’t happened in a long while. Later that afternoon as I was working on Dylan’s portrait there was one single prism refection that landed on the canvas. One…I have never seen just one reflection from those faceted crystals. AND…it wasn’t the entire rainbow of color…it was ONLY Red, green and gold!!! It hovered over the area I had already begun to paint…red, green and gold. I believe this was Dylan giving me approval with my choice and from that point on I felt he was my copilot with this painting.

The Lion Symbol-

Dylan was a fierce, protective and loyal friend. He was a Leo with a big heart. He also was deeply compassionate. The Lion in the painting is wise and regal. He stands tall and proud in the upper left as a symbol that Dylan’s soul is protected and understood and held by something greater.

The Lion’s and Dylan’s hearts are connected through the light and energy flowing between them…making them “one love”.

Sunset and Dylan as an artist-

I referred to a couple of sunset paintings done by Dylan that Kathleen (Dylan’s Mom) shared with me to create the sunlight glowing from his throat area. This is also a symbol of his voice and how much love he was able to communicate while he was here. He had a powerful ability to show love.

The wave and the ocean-

The Rasta colors pass through Dylan’s heart like a portal and turn into wings at his back. Here it turns into a giant wave. I referred to another photo of Dylan surfing shared by Kathleen with me and a painting Dylan made of the waves and ocean. He found so much joy and connection in the ocean and through surfing. Here I wanted to express the feeling that he is still up there, out there, around us…. surfing another reality. This symbolizes his adventurous side, his desire to travel and see so many aspects of this world.

He surfed the waves of this life and now he is surfing the waves of the next journey. All I could feel was his joy when I painted this part.

Heart Symbols in glass and coral-

Where his surfboard meets the sea there is light force energy sparkling into the ocean and forming hearts of sea glass. He sends these hearts in different forms to you Kathleen to let you know he is with you. You shared this with me that you feel they are messages from him so they appeared in your painting from him again. He was very intuitive and these heart messages are connected to his ability to read when you need to hear from him.


There is a cross necklace Dylan wore that you wear now that also needed to be in the painting. This may be bold of me but I got the feeling that Dylan didn’t wear it intentionally as a Christian symbol but it was more a symbol of family connection and a statement that he did believe in a spiritual world. On a deeper level it is a symbol of Dylan being the embodiment of love.