Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mrs. Bertie Parker Is On Her Way.

This is the final Bertie, with only a few subtle adjustments since it was last posted.  Today, her portrait will be on the way to her son, Dr. Jack Parker.  Jack wrote to tell me that he did a quick survey of the concerned parties--his brothers and sisters--and made the executive decision that the painting should reside with him.  He is the eldest male child and how could he ignore tradition?

Still haven't seen Charles in the studio, so work continues on the Fon and Jeremy Hodes portraits.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Charles Was A No-Show.

So, there I was, all dressed up and no where to go.  I arrived at the studio early today, anticipating Charles arrival at 1 PM.  I cleaned up my palette, prepared my brushes and laid out the colors I planned to use.  I had three canvasses ready to go, not being exactly certain which size I'd use.  I arranged the chair he would occupy, finding the best location.  I sat where he would be and using the camera's timer, snapped several photos of my own sad face to check the light and shadows.  I positioned my easel exactly where I wanted it.  I was too excited to work on any other paintings, so I fidgeted and watched the clock.

I had my door wide open and every time I heard the "Bing" of the elevator, my heart jumped in my chest.  I kept peeking out into the hallway, expecting to see Charles and his walker heading my way.  One PM came and Charles didn't.  I thought, "No sweat", he's probably on his way.  Maybe lunch took longer than he anticipated.  A million things may have delayed him, including forgetting exactly where in the building I'm located.

At about 2:30 PM, I decided to wander outside to see if he was waiting there.  He was no where to be seen.  I don't carry a cell phone and have no land line in the studio, so there was no way for him to call, even if he wanted to.  I crossed the street to Starbucks, grabbed a coffee and headed back to the studio.  Shucks.  Darn.  Dag-nab it all.

After drinking the coffee, I gave up on him and got to work on the two remaining portraits promised to Jeremy Hodes and his wife, Fon.  At least that went well today.  Tomorrow he may show up, perhaps with a reasonable excuse.  Every dog gets one bite, as they say.  Charles had his today.  If he fails to darken my door tomorrow, I guess it will be time to seek out another candidate.  Maybe I'll have to resort to calling a professional model.  I won't give up on this too easily.

I know many of you were eager to learn how things went today and no one is more sorry than me that there is nothing to report, nor sketches or paintings to show.  Tomorrow is another day, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Course Altered...Successfully?

For those of you who saw the last post, the title here is not a mystery.  After reading some of the comments regarding my decision to stop painting from photos, I ran to the studio.  Just as I was about to enter the building, on the corner I noticed a gentleman sitting on his walker enjoying the sunshine.  Something intrigued me, but I dismissed it and walked into the lobby.  I pushed the "up" elevator call button and the doors flew open almost immediately.  I paused.

This was it!  A seminal moment in what may prove to be a fresh start for my painting.  I ignored the beckoning elevator, turned back toward the building entrance and walked outside.  I half expected him to be gone, but there he was.  My heart began to beat quicker as I approached him.

Nervously, I blurted out, "Sir, my name is Gary Everest", offering him my hand.  He was as kind and gentle as my intuition told me he'd be.  He took my hand, shook it and announced that he was Charles Daniels.  I next asked him if he would consider posing for a painting.  As expected, this caught him somewhat off guard and I explained that I had a studio in the building and painted portraits.  I told him I wanted to paint from a living model and he had caught my eye.

He agreed and I invited him to accompany me to the studio.  We had a most pleasant chat for about an hour getting to know each other.  I believe we achieved something of a rapport and he agreed to return tomorrow at 1 PM for the first sitting.  He lives across the street from the studio building so it is working out to every one's convenience.  We haven't established how much I should pay him, though to be honest, I think he'd be a willing participant simply for the companionship and conversation.  Before he departed, I took some reference photos that will not...I repeat...NOT be used for the painting.  He took direction very well and the photos clearly show what a kind gentleman he is.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Who would have ever thought such a thing would happen on the very day of the "course change" announcement?  It's indeed a crazy world and I must say, I'm happy to be here. 

                                                             MR. CHARLES DANIELS

Course Correction, Tuesday, July 19, 2011.

Since I began crawling down this lonely path called, "art", back in 1994, finding my own voice has been a preoccupation.  How do I find it?  Do I even have one?  Will I hate what I find?  These questions still take up a fair amount of my time in the studio and when I wake up in the morning.  Sometimes I wonder if I really don't want to find it.  That it's safer to paint renderings of photos well enough to garner adequate praise and, therefore, achieve "success".  Have I stumbled upon a way to get the long-missing parental pats on the head for being a "good boy"?  Am I still looking for the grade school teacher's approval?  The answers to these questions reveals that, indeed, I am still that young child who seeks the praise and approval of authority figures.  I stay within the lines, obey the rules, do what ever it takes to avoid conflict or jeopardize the continuation of the fix.  To write these words almost sickens me.  The results of this need are hanging in my home and studio.  Nice, conventional paintings of people whose praise I must have.

This blog has become another source of the magical, endorphin-releasing stuff.  Kind words, pleasant comments, outright laudatory statements, generously offered in praise of my renderings.  The followers, the hits count, the map of visitors locations about the globe--they all are part of my daily fix.  I'm nothing more than a "Praise Whore" and I disgust myself.  I've always taken a certain amount of pride in looking inward, trying to identify my own foibles and foolishness, but how could I have missed this?  Maybe it has been such an important part of my being, it's a "forest-for-the-trees" thing.

The question now becomes, what do I do about it?  Can anything be done about it? 

Thinking back, I have often painted my people-pleasers in a degree of physical pain and now, the cause seems obvious;  Something in me hated what I was doing and that subconscious part of the brain did it's best to stop me.  Knotted shoulders, trembling arm and hand and aching neck were the loud-and-clear signals that I was doing the wrong thing.  I wasn't being true to myself, but failed to recognize the true cause of the symptoms.  I wrote it off as total concentration, extreme focus and other terms which suggested I was suffering for my art.  Sounded good.  Very artistic.  It's funny...I asked several painters if they experienced similar afflictions when at their easels and the unanimous response was, "no".  I still didn't get it and no alarm bell sounded in my head.  So much for looking inward!   

Having nothing to say, but saying it beautifully, isn't very satisfying.  How could it be?  Doesn't every thinking soul engaged in any creative endeavor want to say and do more than simply produce an entertaining movie, engaging novel or decorative painting?  Wouldn't you choose to be remembered as an artist of vision, though perhaps penniless, over being "successful" and soon forgotten?

Caio Fernandes and I have had a most interesting dialogue the past two or three weeks and it has brought to light this ugly, nearly obsessive need for praise.  Amazingly, the realization that I have this disease and the power it has over me explains most of my life actions.  I won't bore you with details, but believe me, considering it in the context of my attempt to be a painter, it's clear why I'm where I'm at.

It is so powerful and important to my daily existence that money and possessions don't even come close to matching its influence.  It also nicely explains why I don't seek commissions, gallery representation or enter contests or shows.  Each of those activities feature risk, a chance of being rejected, more importantly, a possibility of no praise.  In contrast, my photo renderings, usually based on an image the subject likes, almost guarantee I'll get my fix.  Sending them to the subjects, with the best of intentions and at no small cost, brought even more of the elixir of life.  How sick must my mind be to allow this to happen?!  Sending them is akin to needing a greater dose and being willing to spend much more to get it.  I wonder if this continued, I'd need to become a burglar to pay for my fix in the form of shipping fees?  Man!  I should probably be committed, preferably in Arles!

Okay.  So, what to do about it?  Paint something shockingly ugly, ridiculous or just plain horrible as proof that I'm "in control", that I'm "cured"?  Manufacture a style, system or method so unique only an alchemist could guess at the process with the resulting works being so utterly disgusting only scorn could result?  To some, even scorn is far better than being ignored.  Is that me, too?       

Since praise has been feeding my addiction for so many years, maybe the best medicine would be to simply stop.  Stop painting, stop sending paintings, stop blogging.  Cease-and-desist from any activity which could lead to praise.  Grow up, cold turkey.  Maybe delete this before posting.  Hell...this, too, might be just another devious way to elicit praise from readers.  I guess the only thing I'm sure of is that it's high time for a change...if it's possible.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Caio Has His Portrait!

The Caio Fernandes portrait arrived Thursday, in good shape.  He has posted some great photos, including himself mimicking the pose of the painting.  Click on "Mein Welt" in the right margin to visit Caio's blog.   

I'm happy to report he seems to be pleased with it, so far, which is most gratifying.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Caio's Portrait Is On It's Way.

I took the Caio portrait to FedEx today, (Monday) and he should receive it on Wednesday.  In fact, I just did a tracking check and found that it's already in Memphis, Tennessee, the main FedEx hub. 

It will be another day or two of jittery nerves, waiting to learn his reaction to seeing it in person.  Stand-by!  And this is how it looked as I bid it farewell.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The New Bertie Parker--In Color.

After studying Bertie for the half-hour it took to stop sweating from a long run to the studio, some ideas arrived and I got busy.  Darkened the background and continued to adjust her skin tones to more accurately depict her, as well as, worked on her hair.  I was so happy with the result, I decided it was time to show you the portrait in the new colors. 

And if any of the Parker clan happens to stop by and see this, please let me know if I should stop and call it a painting!  I can always continue work on it, but I would be perfectly happy to stop whenever the consensus among the family is that I should sign it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bertie Parker Do-Over

With the Caio portrait almost dry and soon to be shipped, I began a larger version of Mrs. Bertie Parker, mother of Dr. Jack Parker, my lifelong friend.  Lest I incur the wrath of the rest of the family... she is also the mother of Jill, Jan, Jim and Joe and wife of John and the grandmother and great-grandmother to a couple dozen addition great kids.  I'd list all their names, but Google would probably charge me for using up so much memory.

Many of you have seen the older post featuring Bertie.  In fact, her earlier portrait is the most-viewed post on my entire blog--by far.  I wasn't surprised by that, as she's a wonderful person, loved by all who know her, including me.

I'm taking a completely different approach to this version, besides the larger format--20 x 16-inches.  The first version was 12 x 9-inches and left precious little margin for error, not that I ever make any.  The bigger canvas will give me much more space to relax a little as I'm working.  Also, I'm changing the color scheme from the yellow walls and hot, incandescent dining room chandelier which made her quite orange, to a more subdued and "normal" palette.

And to be completely honest...about four months ago, I wrecked the earlier version.  I was doing my usual thing--trying to make it "better" and instead, lost control of the darn thing and have yet to successfully rescue it.  Having doubts about the odds of success, I began the new and improved Bertie. 

The image is black-and-white simply because I want to keep it semi-secret until it's completed.  That could be awhile and I didn't want to even suggest that it was finished.  I'm not sure who to send this one to, after all, the choices are too many to count.  Should it go to Bertie?  Her eldest son, Jack?  The eldest daughter, Jill?  The complexity of this decision would give Solomon a headache.  I can even foresee a visit to the Supreme Court.  Maybe this time, I'll let Bertie and the family decide who should have it.  I just hope they can come to a decision soon and let me know who gets it before I have the opportunity to wreck it!  Hope everyone has a nice, relaxing Sunday.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Raptor Update

Thanks to search engines, I was able to identify the raptor I photographed yesterday.  With fairly high confidence, it appears to have been an osprey.  The photo and description almost exactly matched the bird I saw.  Here are a couple images from the articles I found.

This is one of mine from yesterday, as the osprey was heading downstream.  What a sight.

July 4th, 2011.

Friends stopped by yesterday and the four of us wandered over to the Waterfront Blues Festival.  The day turned out to be spectacularly beautiful, with a fresh northerly breeze to keep it comfortable.  Since the music was more than sufficiently loud, we dropped off the food, but decided to walk the perimeter to the south.  That stroll took us by the shops and restaurants along the marina.  We decided to take a break at Newport Seafood Grill and opted for a table on the floating pier. 
Between the wind and all the boats, the water was fairly choppy.  The pier was moving just enough to get our attention and the boats tied-up alongside were bobbing, too.  Soon after I sat down, I felt like seasickness was about to ruin my day.  Luckily, my twenty-years experience as a naval officer kicked-in and I immediately ordered a Mai-Tai.  As expected, the time-honored concoction steadied my keel and eliminated any chance of being afflicted with scurvy.  While we drank and dined, we had no problem enjoying the music, delivered on that same northerly breeze.  On our way home, we couldn't resist the Siren's Song coming from an ice cream shop.  We enjoyed the sweet treats seated upon one of the many park benches lining the walkway.  Our view was looking down at the marina, packed with as many boats as we've ever seen.  It was a wonderful day.

 This is Nicki and Bruce White, along with Michele.

 The Portland Spirit sails by, loaded with people on one of the "Delta Music Experience" cruises.

The crowd enjoying a beautiful day and a ton of great music.  What a show!

Today, Michele had to work and I went to the studio.  On the run home, I detoured down to the waterfront, crossed the Steel Bridge to the East Bank Esplanade and jogged the mile or so to the Hawthorne Bridge to re-cross the Willamette River toward home.
I stopped on the Hawthorne Bridge to snap a few last photos of the festival.  The river, jammed with boats of every size and description and the huge crowd of music lovers crammed onto the grass-covered, natural amphitheater.  Besides the music and nice weather, the multitudes were waiting for the big fireworks show to end this fabulous festival.  I watched the show from home because the view from our 15th-floor condo is great and the thunder can still be heard and almost felt through the window wall.  That, and I was tired.  Four days to recover!

Almost forgot:  While on the East Bank Esplanade, this hawk (or falcon) was hunting for fish and I was able to zoom in for a couple of shots.

This was taken from the Hawthorne Bridge and gives some idea of the massive crowd and huge number of boats.

Now, we're getting closer to the west end of the bridge.  Amazing!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

24th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival Begins.

The 24th-annual Waterfront Blues Festival kicked off today, running through Monday, July 4th.  It's the biggest Blues festival west of the Mississippi and second largest in the nation.  This year the expected crowd of 100,000 will be treated to 125-performances on five stages set-up in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.  The festival also includes Delta Music Experience river cruises and after-hours performances at venues in the city.  A huge fireworks display to celebrate our nation's birthday is scheduled for Monday, July Fourth, to cap off the festival.  We'll probably watch it from our living room!
This event is the biggest fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank, which is the best reason of all to attend.  The weather is cooperating in spectacular fashion, not unusual for this time of year, making it even better.  I took my camera today, stopping by the park to snap a few photos for you, just before it officially opened.  Hope you can all make it this year! 
One of the entrances to the festival, with a building crowd eager to hear some great Blues.

A large fleet of pleasure craft began arriving a few days ago, anchoring in prime position to enjoy the shows.  The big pink thing that looks like a sign is really a 14 x 24-foot "jumbo-tron".

Members of the "Transcendental Brass Band" have arrived for one of the first performances.

The name on the drum makes it official!

Can you imagine enjoying all this music without having a dance floor to strut your stuff?

There are plenty of great places to re-fuel while enjoying the Blues and this will undoubtedly be one of the most popular.

Portlanders love their coffee and though we have many great coffee roasters locally, LavAzza is pretty great, too.  This was our favorite brand when we lived in Italy and we still use it in our home every day.
They had the hot oil ready to go when I passed this spot.  I guess most everyone in America and many other countries knows about New Orleans famous Jackson Square and the Cafe du Monde, established in 1862 and still known for their cafe au lait and the confectionery delight, the beignet.  This will be an extremely popular attraction at the festival.

I've departed the festival area and am now heading for the studio.  This fountain is a city favorite as it varies it's flow and kids are immensely entertained here on warm days.  Hope to see you here!