Friday, August 19, 2011

The Jeremy and Namfon Hodes Portraits.

The portraits of Dr. Jeremy and Namfon Hodes were shipped Monday and arrived at their home in Australia yesterday.  Jeremy sent me a very kind email letting me know they arrived in good condition and how much he and his wife liked them.  My painting, "A Gentleman From India", was based on a photo taken by Jeremy, who was kind enough to allow me to use it.  The portraits were my attempt at thanking him for being so kind.  A link to Jeremy's blog, Tofu Photography is in the right hand margin and I encourage you to click on it to have a look at his always new photos of beautiful Australia and the Far East.

He told me he'd take photos and email copies.  I wrote him back, explaining that I had been unsuccessful in my attempts to photograph the paintings, hence, nothing on the blog to date.  I thanked him, as I know what great photographers both he and Fon are.  I told him I'm eager to see his images and post them here.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not sending out any more unsolicited paintings--at least for a while.  One should never say "never" I've learned, and the time may come again when I feel strongly that the subject of a portrait really should have it.  On a local level, I plan on continuing my attempt to find willing subjects who will actually sit for me.  That, and an occasional self-portrait and who knows what other painting adventures lay in store.     

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Valuable Than Ever!!

Today, though it may seem improbable, my worth has been significantly increased.  I just returned from a visit to the dentist and I'm now the proud owner of a "crown of gold".  Maybe, that should be a gold crown.  Yeah...that sounds better.
And with that out of the way, it's time to suit up for a reasonably lengthy jog to the studio.  Gotta run off the built-up tension from the visit to the dentist.  Not that anything painful happened today.  No, it's just the anxiety of even going there.
The skies are bright blue and the abundant sunshine is quickly warming Portland up.  Supposed to reach a very comfortable eighty degrees today, though currently (11:27 AM) it's 67-degrees, with a "feels like" of 73-degrees.  Just about perfect.
The current painting in work is the rather large landscape I'm hoping will be juried into the Rental/Sales Gallery Fall Show.  It has already morphed from a bucolic Czech village viewed from across a pond, into a more French or Italian looking place without the pond.  It will, no doubt, change many more times before the entry deadline.  I'm trying really hard to paint it loosely and have some fun, suggesting features rather than the way it started out with slavish details and no life whatsoever.
We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Favorite Poem.

I hope some of you have taken the time to visit the blog, "Secrets of Death".  It's in my blog list in the right margin if you should want to take a look.  I'm no poetry expert, but I really love many of the poems featured there.
I understand that not everyone will seek out poetry solely concerned with death.  Some folks would never visit such a blog.  I won't try too hard to change your minds, but here is one of the reasons I love visiting the site:

                                DO NOT STAND AT MY GRAVE AND WEEP
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

By Mary Elizabeth Frye

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Conspicuously Absent

It's been a few days, as I've been helping Michele recover from an operation on her left foot on Monday.  The surgery was to shorten bones in two of her toes which had been prone to dislocation when she walked, causing her a lot of pain.   
The surgery went well and she's recovering now.  I've been doing what I can to make these days easier for her, so studio visits have been few and of short duration.
Today I happened to come upon the work of Terry Miura, a California artist.  Wouldn't you know, the first article I came upon was his thoughts about painting from photos.  He does use them, but he emphasizes they are for reference only.  He makes no attempt to slavishly render them.
As I continued to read his studio notes, I was as impressed with his writing skill as his philosophy and paintings.  I've put his blog on my list in the right margin, so you can easily take a look and see if what he says makes sense for you.
I have started a 30 x 40-inch landscape and finding his blog could not have come at a better time.  I'm using a photo for reference and am desperately trying to "interpret" rather than render.  Mr. Miura's words and work are a great inspiration for this painting.  My goal is to produce a painting which will make it past the jury at the Portland Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery.  The Fall show will soon be upon us and it would be nice to have another work in the gallery which just may rent or sell.  It couldn't hurt to make a few bucks!  More money to help me keep sending portraits around the globe!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can You Believe It?

The title of this post says it all.  I could hardly believe it myself. 

Yesterday, I had finished working on the two Hodes portraits and was jogging home.  About halfway there, in the midst of all the downtown workers heading for their homes, I passed a woman.  This particular lady looked very familiar--VERY FAMILIAR.  Could it really be?  Was it her?

I stopped and turned back for another look.  She was continuing on her way without hesitation and as the distance between us lengthened, I considered running after her to see if my hunch was correct.  Sadly, I chickened-out and she disappeared in the crowd.  I turned again, this time for home.  After thinking about it for an hour, I decided to make up for being so shy on the street.  I went to her blog, but it wouldn't let me write an email.  I then visited her web site and clicked on the button labeled:  "Contact". 

Sheepishly, I began..."Did you happen to be downtown today...".  I didn't want to sound like a stalker, so I tried my best to present myself as "normal".  I mentioned the time of day and what I was wearing and that I thought she had noticed me, too.  When I finished this curious email, I re-read it, performed the "spell check" and hit "send".  Now, the waiting began.

Michele and I went out to dinner at a nearby sushi restaurant and upon our return, I was eager to see if I had any email.  There it was!  She had written back and I anxiously opened the letter.  It was her!  She wrote that she had noticed me, as well, but had no idea who I was.  I responded to her note and she wrote once more last night.  What a small and wonderful world! 

You have all patiently read my story and I've teased you for long enough.  Her name:  Celeste Bergin, fine artist, warm human being and fellow blogger!  She had been on jury duty and was on her way home when we passed each other.  I've followed her blog and admired her work for a long time, but never thought our paths would cross, especially like this.  For those of you who haven't seen her work or visited her blog, it is on the list of blogs on the right hand margin, or just go to:

It is, indeed, a small world and it was great fun, not only thinking I saw her, but being able to verify that I did so quickly.  Hope you all had an equally interesting end to your day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"The Big Float", Brewer's Festival and the Portland Saturday Market.

It was a busy weekend in Portland and the first event of Sunday, July 31, 2011, was "The Big Float".  The Willamette Riverkeepers organization invited Portlanders to float across their Willamette River.  Nearly 2,000 people showed up with every sort of float or paddle device for this first ever event.  I just had to swing by to snap some photos before heading for the studio.  This long shot shows the "armada" floating across the river, starting on the west bank beneath the Marquam Bridge.  The float ended on the east bank near the Hawthorne Bridge.

  A new light rail, bicycle and pedestrian bridge is being built just south of this view and a barge involved in the construction is about to momentarily interrupt the "Big Float".  This photo catches all the good stuff;  Snow-covered Mount Hood, the USS Blueback, SS-581, on permanent exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the barge and tug, a couple of pleasure craft and the floating armada.

Here's a cropped view of the scene.  I thought you would love seeing Mount Hood a little closer.  It is a breathtaking sight any time of year.

Here, I'm at Portland Saturday Market, looking at the Portland Brewer's Festival tents, upper right.  Not much was going on at that event as it was a little early, but this year marks the 24th year of the event.  Oregon is the craft beer capital of the U.S. and has been nicknamed, "Beervana".  Officials were expecting about 75,000 folks to attend this year and with the perfect weather and nearly 80 different beers on tap, I bet they have many more "sippers".

Portland Saturday Market actually operates Sunday, too.  It covers about three blocks from Waterfront Park west to 2nd Avenue.  Operating since 1974, it's the nation's oldest continuously operating outdoor arts and crafts market.  Neat stuff, great food and entertainment make it an always interesting place to visit.

A few of the couple of hundred vendors with stalls at the market.  Portland loves dogs, so I couldn't resist the doggie cookie booth.  The life masks always grab my attention, too.  They're funny, fascinating and even a little spooky.  And I just got a kick out of the soap company's name.

Near Skidmore Fountain, a group of belly dancers, complete with their own live orchestra, performed for the crowd. 

And here's the Portland landmark Skidmore Fountain.  Notice the MAX light rail train nearby.  Portlanders from far-and-wide can take it from the suburbs to the market and other central city businesses and events.  It's a great system.  This train features an ad for Hawaiian Airlines.  Hm-m...guess I've got the "Spirit of Aloha" on my mind!

I've left the market, but I thought I'd show you one of Portland's newest "car-free" streets.  Business owners of this little street petitioned the city to close it to cars and the city decided it was a good idea.  Now, newly set-up picnic tables allow visitors to enjoy "fume-free" dining and drinking.  Don't cha just love it!

At the west end of the car-free street, we come to "Voodoo Doughnuts".  And you may have noticed the "Keep Portland Weird" sign.  This unique doughnut shop and the sign explain a lot about what makes Portland such an interesting and fun place to live.  Voodoo Doughnuts has been featured on Anthony Bourdain's food show, "No Reservations", as well as, many others.  They may be most famous for their maple-bacon bar, an unbelievably delicious treat.  Oh...they also do weddings!  If you have any doubts about just how good their doughnuts are, please notice the line of people you see here.  They are all waiting their turn to get some!

And here's the final stop on today's tour of Portland.  Stumptown Coffee Roasters, located only a couple of bites of that maple-bacon bar away from Voodoo Doughnuts.  It's one of the first, and many think the best coffee roaster in the city.  According to Willamette Week newspaper, they've recently sold out and that has caused a lot of heartburn to many of their die-hard fans.  They started small, did things right and developed a wonderful reputation.  I'm sure the coffee will remain top-rate, but it will never be quite the same to independent business loving Portlanders.

Despite all of today's activities, yes, I did finally make it to the studio and actually worked on two paintings!  Hope you had a pleasant Sunday, too.