Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bozzetto #3, by Myrna Wacknov.

I saw this small (5x7-inch) watercolor a few days ago on Myrna Wacknov's blog; Creativity Journey. What can I say other than, I love it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ms. Myrna Wacknov, live in Portland, Jan. 28, 2011.

Unbelievable! From cyberspace to Portland, Oregon, it's Ms. Myrna Wacknov! Many of you may know this immensely talented lady from her blog, but today I actually got to meet her IN PERSON!
Myrna was teaching a workshop here at the Oregon Society of Artists and we had arranged to meet while she was in town. I was a little nervous, too, as I've seldom been so close to such a talented artist. Lucky for me, Myrna is as kind and personable as a "normal" person, so I immediately felt comfortable in her presence.
I snapped a bunch of photos of work she'd brought along to show her students while she fielded a few questions before stopping for lunch. I asked her if she knew of Harry Kent and she told me she did. I told her that her use of such a wide variety of materials and techniques reminded me of him. What she does with watercolor is simply amazing and wonderful. The students certainly got their moneys worth from the workshop by everything I could see.
I decided to jog to the Society's building, figuring she'd know it was me by the turquoise jacket and red, sweaty and wrinkled old face beneath my old ball cap. There was no way she would mistake me for a lost student dressed like that.
So, we had a very nice chat and I bailed out before the afternoon session began. For all you watercolorists out there, if you're looking for new ways to employ your medium, by all means, take one of her classes. If that's not possible, may I recommend her blog. You'll find it here, on the right hand margin blog list. It's titled "Creativity Journey". I'll say!

Spring Is In The Air! January 27, 2011.

Lucky for Portlanders, today was a most wonderful glimpse of the coming Spring, with sunny skies and a temperature of 55-degrees. Such a day was too nice to waste, so I took the long route to my studio, jogging along Waterfront Park.
With camera in hand, as usual, I couldn't resist snapping a couple of photos of Mount Hood in all it's winter glory. The gentleman jogging in summer clothing is testament to just how nice the day was.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Parviz and Maudie Samiee, Jan. 26, 2011.

Maudie and Parviz Samiee, our former landlords, brought his portrait to our home this evening for a signature. Though I offered to make any and all corrections, they told me that they are very pleased and only wanted me to sign it. I gave it to them about a month ago, so they could evaluate it and make a list of anything they might want changed or corrected. Frankly, I was not surprised they accepted it, not because it was perfect, (it wasn't) but because they are two of the most incredibly kind and decent human beings we've ever met.
They had a glass of wine with Michele while I got busy signing the painting and adding a dedication on the back. Following that, we walked to a very nice restaurant nearby and they treated us to a delightful dinner.
It's always just a little sad to see a painting go, but in this case, I couldn't have been more pleased. I hope they enjoy it for years and that their children and future generations of their family look upon it and see the generous and loving gentleman we have been so fortunate to know.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Studio Notes, January 18, 2011.

I phoned the Rental/Sales Gallery today to confirm I had until 5:00 PM to deliver my offering to the Cascades AIDS Project gala and art auction. At that point, I felt it was just a matter of watching it dry for a few hours, bagging it and walking to the gallery. How foolish was that!

Arriving at the studio it was nearly noon and I took a good, long look at the painting which was soon to see the brutal light of day and the juror. In no time at all, self-doubt and fear fell over me like one of those huge and heavy theater curtains. I had to do something, even at the risk of having nothing to offer to the auction. Last night's coat of Liquin was still tacky so there was little to lose by making a few minor corrections...right?

The "few corrections" became a major do-over! Nothing like a gallery deadline to emphasize each-and-every flaw, and believe me, there were plenty. I quickly mixed a pile of ivory black with Liquin and tried to fix things. That eventually led to an entirely new concept for the piece and I frenetically attacked the canvas with a terrible mix of caffeine and fear. Black was flying onto things that had previously been various shades of flesh-like color. Medium was then applied, followed immediately by wiping off most of the fresh black. Melting...I'm melting!

And just when I was feeling better about the painting, I realized I hadn't painted the bottom of the gallery-wrap canvas! It was still bright white and I was unsuccessful in convincing myself "no one would notice". Besides...who ever looks under a painting to see if it's painted to match the other visible edges? In a panic, I thought I could run next door to the convenience store and get a couple of black felt pens. Yes! That would surely do it! Who would notice after the noxious fumes dispersed? That was without doubt the worst idea I'd had so far, but luckily, and just in the nick of time I remembered the acrylic paints laying about. Yes!! Saved by the Mars black acrylic paint! Wow! Nice save!! Feeling better now. Calm began to replace panic.

Then, another shot of adrenalin surged through my knotted stomach. The canvas needs to be wired!!! I lunged for a tangle of picture wire and assorted tools to address this latest emergency. Screwdriver, the wire, a nail to start the hole for the hook-eyes. Now, the only thing between me and a moments peace was the still sticky edges. Yikes! How could I apply the required pressure without leaving fingerprints all over the edges? Necessity being the mother of invention, I ever-so-carefully, and barely touching the edge of my work table, leaned it upright. Oh! Did I mention that that wonderful Mars black acrylic paint along the bottom of the canvas had already dried? So, with that minimal support, and hanging on to a cross-member, I was able to wire this masterpiece.

With that accomplished, it was time for a jaunt across the street to re-caffeine at Starbucks. I enjoyed the coffee while calmly watching the various chemicals and paint attempt to dry. That was followed with some work on Harry Kent's portrait until a little after 4:00 PM. Time to go.

I carefully slipped a huge, plastic leaf bag over the still tacky 30 x 24-inch painting, grabbed my umbrella and headed for the elevator. Of course, it was raining fairly hard, but I was on a mission and nothing short of being hit by a bus would stop me. I walked the mile-or-so to the gallery in brisk fashion, arriving in plenty of time to fill out the paperwork to officially commit this work to the fate of the juror and with a bit of luck...the Cascades AIDS Project art auction.

Whew! So, how was your day?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Direction for "Untitled", January 15, 2011.

I also worked on "Untitled" again today, but it took a while for my muse to show up. Looking at it, I thought it needed something, so I began to apply a graded background from darker to lighter.
That effort did not do much for the painting, however, and after several minutes of study, an idea popped into the old brain and I got busy.
The now obvious choice seemed simple and would definitely add to the drama. I immediately got to work wiping off the mid-value mistake. Of course, as I began to apply ivory black, one of the Maestro's truisms hit me in the face. He'd say, "It's easier to lighten a dark than darken a light."
I well-remembered his words, but I had to do something--anything--as the deadline is rapidly approaching.
So, what I hope will be a rich dark (if I can get it done and dry prior to the January 18th entry deadline) looks more like gray tonight.

Considering Harry Kent, January 15, 2011.

I did more work on Harry Kent's portrait today and couldn't resist snapping a photo along side the painting.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Mr. Harry Kent", 2011, a work-in-progress.

The teasing is over. Today went well and I don't feel too horrible about showing progress on my first real and rather large portrait of Mr. Harry Kent. I hope most of you recognize him!
For those of you who don't blog, Mr. Harry Kent is an immensely gifted artist who lives in Tasmania, or as Harry might put it, "The land down under the land down under!" He paints the most incredible portraits of himself, as well as other folks, drawing from a seemingly bottomless well of expressive techniques and a variety of materials, both conventional and, to put it mildly, "unusual".
He is a great friend to countless bloggers--artists or not--always offering kind words of praise, art education, poetry and philosophy. He is a continual source of inspiration, not only for his boldness in painting, but also in the way he lives his life.
You might say I'm one of his biggest fans and have benefited immensely from knowing him.

Untitled, (Why?) 2011

This was titled, "Why?", a while back and here it is today. I decided to paint it much larger and hope to donate it to the Cascades Aids Project art auction. The deadline is January 18th and I don't know if I'll get it looking the way I want in time.
Cascades AIDS Project has served the Portland and Southwest Washington area for twenty-five years and this year will be their twenty-second art auction gala fund raiser. The auction features 300-pieces of original art by many of the areas most renowned artists. It is a juried show and there is no guarantee my painting will make the cut.
I decided to drop the "Why?" title and hopefully, viewers will feel free to find their own meaning. Hope, anguish, despair, a fighting spirit or defiance all seem possible. I hope it gets into the auction and bidders go crazy for it and it earns lots of money for this important cause.
I'll let you know how this turns out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Primary Colors, Jan 5, 2011.

First: I didn't post this to punish you. A photo of a painting or Hawaiian scenery would trump that of a baggy-eyed, gray-beard any day. I get it. This photo, however, is all about primary colors.
I was in the studio finishing my lunch while considering my effort on the Harry Kent portrait. I set up my digital camera, engaged the timer and hit the button. This was the resulting image.
Back home, I uploaded the day's photos and was struck by the colors of this one. I swear--the wardrobe was not chosen by color. It was simply a cold day and I wanted to keep warm on the walk to the studio.
The sweater is over twenty-five years old, but like a good friend, I always have it near. I remember being taken by the colors when I purchased it. Blue and yellow--can't get more complementary than that. Of course, I wasn't a painter back then and only knew that I liked it. The crimson corduroy shirt is at least seven years old, but remains serviceable, especially for painting.
So, primary colors in all their glory. Heck...they almost make it possible to ignore who they're on!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A New Year-- Considering Harry, Jan. 5, 2011.

It's a New Year and I've been hard at work on a rather large (30 x 24-inches) portrait of Mr. Harry Kent of Tasmania. Harry was kind enough to send me an email with lots of mean "reference material" and I intend to fully explore this good friend and abundantly talented artist's facial topography.
The larger canvas will, I hope, facilitate a greater freedom of brushwork and therefore, more expressive qualities in my portraits. We'll see how how it works out in this new year, so stay tuned.
Hope you all have the best year ever in 2011!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dr. John Parker, 2010

Dr. John Parker has been a great friend since we first met in junior high school a very long time ago. We visited Jack and his wife, Chris, at their vacation home on Bainbridge Island, (across Puget Sound from Seattle) back in May, 2010. I took quite a few photos of the good doctor while there, thinking of doing a portrait someday.
Jack and his family were having a tough time picking a photo they were all pleased with so I just decided to choose my favorite and go for it. This pose captures the Jack Parker I know and I was very happy to see a smile spread across his face when he first saw it.
Jack and Chris spent New Year's Eve here with us in Portland, taking the train down from Seattle. We enjoyed a few memories, got caught up on family news, dined, had a few adult beverages and rang-in the New Year at a "Pink Martini" concert. It was a great night!
PS: The portrait went home to Seattle with them.