Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday in Waikiki, February 28, 2911.

What a difference a day makes.  Though everything went swimmingly yesterday, it still wore us out a bit.  A wonderful night's sleep was just what the doctor ordered.
Today, we chose to simply enjoy the beach and sunshine.  After a nice sleep-in we wandered across the street to one of the ubiquitous ABC Stores.  You could liken ABC Stores to 7-11 convenience stores all over the mainland.  Lots of stuff, anything-and-everything a vacationer could need.  Before we crossed the street, a police officer had stopped all lanes of traffic on Kalakaua Avenue.  We looked down the street and couldn't see anything like an accident or other mishap which would have prompted stopping traffic.  We did notice a couple of limousines at the entrance to our hotel and wondered if some VIP-guests were arriving.  Then, we noticed a young woman appear to chase after one of the limos as it was pulling away.  She stopped fairly quickly and soon after that, the police officer allowed traffic to resume its normal flow.  Our guess was that it might have been a scene from the new "Hawaii 5-0", but we've yet to find out if that was what we witnessed.  Anyway, it put an exclamation point on the morning.
Soon after that, I jumped into my bathing suit while Michele did a bit more shopping.  What a day.  The turquoise and blue Pacific was a most pleasant temperature and I swam and kept on swimming.  I finally returned to the beach and headed for the famous Moana Surfrider Beach Bar.  It wasn't lunchtime, but a Mai Tai seemed to be in order and Peter, the bartender was most friendly and accommodating.
Michele found me there and ordered a delightful non-alcoholic drink called a "Tropical Breeze".  Lunch followed and we enjoyed mahi-mahi fish and chips and Waigu beef sliders just ten meters from the sparkling blue water.  She then headed out to the Ala Moana shopping center and I returned to the water.
After another half hour in the water, I collapsed into a chaise lounge and quickly fell asleep.  Lunch, a couple of Mai Tais and swimming can do that to you.  Anyway, I awakened with a start and could only imagine how sunburned I must now be.  I chatted with a nice gentleman from Dallas, Texas, for quite a while before returning once more, to the water.
Just as I was ready to head back to my lounge, a rain shower began to pass overhead.  As I got to the lounge, most folks were heading for cover.  I sat down and lifted my eyes skyward as the gentle, warm rain washed away the salt water.  A slight grin spread across my face and I couldn't help but wonder just how crazy the people under umbrellas thought I must be.  It also occurred to me that this might just be the purest rain that would ever touch me.  Here we are in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean and these drops evaporated perhaps days or weeks ago and many hundreds of miles away.  How lucky can a guy get?!  I don't believe I'll ever look at rain quite the same way again.

So, I eventually made it back to the room and assessed the damage.  Whew!  I haven't been this sunburned in a very long time.  It's the Yin and the Yang, the balance of life, I guess.  I don't feel too crisp yet, but I hope I'm able to enjoy dinner tonight.  We'll be dining at a place called, "Roy's".  For more than twenty years they have been serving Hawaiian Fusion cuisine and we're really looking forward to a creative and fabulous meal.
No new photos today because I spent most of the time in the water and from what I hear, salt water isn't the best thing for a camera.

Vacation, Feb. 27 - Mar. 5, 2011.

It was a busy, hugely successful first day of our vacation.  Bounced out of bed at 4:00 AM sharp and were on the way to the airport an hour later in 35-degree weather.  We departed on time (7:35 AM) and landed in sunny skies with a temperature of 79-degrees five hours and twenty-three minutes later.  Oh.  Almost forgot to mention it, but no surprise here.  It was Honolulu, Hawaii.
We flew on an Alaska Airlines Boeing-737-800, as "space available" passengers.  Thanks to Michele's hard work setting this up, we had no problem getting seats aboard the direct flight from Portland to Honolulu.  The crew presented her with an orchid lei prior to arrival, in recognition of her birthday, successful coronary artery procedure and our 25th-wedding anniversary.  It was just about the best travel experience we've ever had.
It took a fair amount of effort to acclimate to the warmth and sunshine--two things not exactly found in abundance during a Portland winter, but we happily donned sunglasses
and shorts to enable a swift transition.

We arrived at 11:30 AM, Honolulu time and after collecting our bags, took a cab to the Moana Surfrider Hotel on Waikiki Beach.  We were treated exceptionally well at check-in, with an upgraded room with two balconies!  After unpacking, we caught the free shuttle to "Hilo Hatties" to do some tourist-type shopping at this famous store which specializes in what most of us know as "Aloha Shirts" and "MuMu" dresses.  Michele took a well-deserved rest after that and I went for a nice jog.  We ended up at the beach-side lanai of the Halekulani Hotel for cocktails, beautiful Hawaiian music and Hula dancing performed by a former Miss Hawaii, and, of course, the sunset.  A delicious light dinner followed and now Michele is asleep and here I am.  Quite a first day, indeed.  Wish you could all be here to share this magnificent weather and ambiance.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Studio Notes, February, 26, 2011.

My wife and I will be departing on a vacation tomorrow, but we're taking our laptop so I'll post photos when possible.  I'll keep our destination a surprise, but with the first post most of you will know where we are.

Work on the Harry Kent, Rhonda Carpenter and Fon Hodes portraits has been my on-going obsession of late.  I desperately tried to get Rhonda's photo-worthy today, but failed, I'm sorry to report.  I know she is doing her best to remain patient, but even she has her limit.  Harry Kent is still missing and my hope is that he is resting and will be back in the blog-o-sphere soon.  Fon's hair highlights and everything else about her portrait continue to challenge my ability to call it finished and sign it.  Lucian Freud routinely works on portraits for six months to two years and that makes me feel a little better about it.

This should be a very special vacation for Michele.  In January, following difficulty walking very far, her doctor performed some tests and found one of her coronary arteries ninety-nine percent blocked.  An angioplasty procedure was performed and a stent implanted in the clogged artery.  She was extremely lucky:  No heart attack, no damage to her heart and obviously, no bypass surgery.  She feels great and is currently in cardiac rehabilitation every other day.  So, she's as good as new and ready to take a break.  This will be a very special celebration of her new lease on life, our twenty-fifth anniversary and her birthday!

Our cat, Gracie, was delivered to the kennel today, with much protest and all that remains for us to do is pack.  It will be an early go tomorrow, but we are eager to get going.  Stay well and keep painting and I'll be back at the easel in about a week. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ms Fon Hodes, 2011.

I still need to add more highlights to her hair, as well as, quite a few of those pesky fly-away strands, but for now, here she is.  Fon is a photographer married to Jeremy Hodes, also a photographer.  He works in education policy for the Australian government and travels a great deal, snapping photos everywhere.  He has a blog called, "Tofu Photography", which you can find a link to on the list of blogs I follow.
As mentioned earlier, I based my painting, "A Gentleman of India", on a photograph taken by Jeremy.  He allowed me to use it for free and Fon's portrait is my way of saying, "Thank-you".  They selected a different photo of her than the pose seen here, but I just couldn't get a satisfactory painting from it.  Not sure why, but I found this image and the painting has gone quite well.  I hope to send it to them before we all die of old age and forget the painting was promised!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back On The Easel; Harry Kent, February 15, 2011.

Actually, Harry has been on the easel forever!  Each day, the hours fly by and some days are better than others, but I thoroughly enjoy working on this portrait of our great friend, Mr. Harry Kent.  We haven't heard from him for some time now and I know all of you who follow his blog and love his work join me in sending him our best wishes.  I just hope when he sees this latest effort it doesn't cause a relapse.
My plan is to re-establish the darks and refine the drawing.  Time, and Harry will be the judge of how well it all went, as well as, telling me when it's time to put down the brushes and call it (at least, temporarily) finished.
I also have a portrait, WAY LONG OVERDUE, of Ms. Fon Hodes nearly ready to be revealed.  It was a photograph taken by her husband, Jeremy, which I used to paint, "A Gentleman of India".  Jeremy was kind enough to let me use the image without charge, so I offered to paint his portrait.  He declined, but said he would enjoy one of his wife, Fon.  It's too long a story for this post, but her portrait has been a monumental struggle which is finally, almost over.

Finally, I've included two views of the latest Harry.  Sometimes, a longer distance photo, not cropped, gives a truer sense of what the work really looks like.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Something Different, February 10, 2011.

Here's a twist on old realist me.  These images were taken in our home using a Canon digital camera and tweaked a bit with Picasa III photo software by Google.  No, I'm not getting paid to mention the ubiquitous Google, it's just what I use.
I wandered around our home placing the camera lens extremely close to all sorts of items and materials.  When I uploaded the images I was amazed and amused and surprised at what I saw.  What I saw was nothing recognizable, yet my brain manufactured all manner of known or imagined things.  I saw beautiful colors and shapes which could have been almost anything.  I'll save you from reading what my mind cooked up because I don't want to influence your own interpretations. 
And today, the Robert Genn art-oriented newsletter discussed, "The Peekaboo Principle".  If I may paraphrase the letter;  It said, neuroscience and psychologists have determined that human beings love solving problems and enjoy things that are not completely spelled-out for them.  Hence, the attraction of abstract art. 

I was intrigued by the idea and found it applicable to these images.  I hope you have some fun looking at them and discovering your own ability to...imagine.

Studio Notes and Photos From My Jog, February 9, 2011.

Today I received a letter from the Cascades AIDS Project informing me that my submission for their art auction fund raiser made the cut.  I was very nervous when I picked up the mail today and noticed the envelope.  Imagine my shock at discovering it was a congratulatory letter rather than a polite rejection!  The Grand Event and Art Auction takes place on April 30th and they are providing two complimentary tickets.  I also get to attend the Artist Reception on March 31st.  Here's to a generous group of bidders in April!

Yesterday, while jogging to my studio, the operator of the Hawthorne Bridge decided the lift system needed to be exercised just as I was starting across.  This was a first for me, and not one I was particularly thrilled about.  The day was sunny and spring-like, but a bit cooler than I'd dressed for.  I snapped a few photos while waiting, but was more than eager to start running again to warm up.

As I approached the Steel Bridge, another gigantic freighter was being loaded.  What a thrill to be so close to such a large ship in the heart of a city.  Of course, the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk was no small boat, but that was a long time ago.  It was a good thing I did the jog, because last night we were treated to a wonderful dinner at Margret and Dave Short's home.  Margret is a nationally known, award winning oil painter and we've been friends with her and Dave since I was first joined the Portland Art Museum Rental and Sales Gallery back in 2003.  You can zip on over to her website from the link in my blog favorites.  Hope you all had a good day.   

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Finished", Another Work-In-Progress, Feb. 5, 2011.

I think "Finished" is a good title for this one. I was mopping my sweaty brow after the run home and was wiped-out. I've been working on this for a long time and even though work will continue, it was time to put it out there.
Velazquez was famous for his skill using red. You can probably see, I'm no Velazquez! One can only try. Despite the title, one thing this painting may never be, is finished!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hey! It's Harry Again! February 4, 2011.

I should probably apologize for putting you all through this. Today, while looking at some of the countless photos of Harry's portrait, I found this one and really liked it. I couldn't figure out why I didn't stop with this one, but such is the curse of the never-ending painting.
Anyway, I decided to print it out and see how it looked. I was still very pleased with it and next, took a photo of the print of the photo. So, my friends, here it is. The burning question remains...will it be possible to return it to this? Should I even try?
When I went to the studio today, I still preferred the print-out version over the real thing. Dang nab it! Guess I've got more work to do.
On the plus side, I didn't touch the Harry portrait today, but I did begin a new painting. Maybe I'll have something ready to post in a day or two. Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mr. Harry Kent, work continues, Feb. 2, 2011.

I've been working continuously on Harry Kent's portrait since I posted it as a work-in-progress on January 14th. It has become something of an obsession...adjust, tweak, refine, then repeat. Perhaps it should be called shampooing instead of painting.
There must be a giant invisible hand turning and twisting me like focusing a lens. Harry's image becomes clear, then sharpens, then blurs in a seemingly never ending cycle. Each day something seems wrong. After five or six hours of work, I depart for home, sometimes elated, other days, depressed. I keep trying to leave it alone for a couple of days, but it is impossible. I simply cannot. Other paintings sit idle and several more have yet to be started.
I don't know who is "in charge", but it certainly doesn't appear to be me. Anyway, here he is today. Perhaps posting it will change my attitude and tomorrow will be different.