I went and talked to Joan in the studio he was working in today. The one portrait is nearly finished of a school child (my daughter) on her first day of school.
The words above her silhouette are taken from my favourite poem from Rainer Maria Rilke, Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen. Here is a pretty good translation of the poem:
I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
The reason I chose those words is because I believe that all children and particularly my children have been the greatest blessing I have received in my life. So the answer to the question is "a great song" when it comes to what their presence means in my life.