Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Commission Completed.

Finally.  I've been working on this portrait since July.  The painting was moved to our home about a week ago.  I wanted to see it in lighting conditions similar to its future home here in the building and make any final adjustments based on what I saw.  It sat on our bookshelves for the last three days, untouched.  It was time.

Fellow artist and great friend, Pat DeMartini, accepted my invitation to see the painting late this morning.  Several times during the process, Pat came to the studio to see and critique the work, so I wanted her opinion, one last time.  She knows the painting almost as well as I do, so if she gave it a thumbs-up, I'd feel confident about letting it go.  Her strongly positive reaction made the decision easy.  I phoned Sue to ensure she was home, telling her I was sending up a "runner" with the painting.  Pat, with an extra-special sparkle in her eyes, took the painting and headed for the elevators.

The anticipation level was off every measurement scale, so I wandered about the condo pretending to do chores.  I didn't want to inhibit the owner by being there, but it was killing me wondering about her reaction to the portrait.  After the longest ten minutes of my life, the phone rang.

It was Sue calling to say how pleased she was with the painting.  Whew!  She told me Anita wasn't home, but felt certain she would like it, too.  The remainder of the conversation is something of a blur, as you might expect.  The effort was rewarded by those kind words and praise.  I hope to have additional photos soon, of Sue and Anita looking at the portrait.

It was a great day.
Ms Anita Davidson, 2012, oil on canvas, 30 x 24-inches.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Final Rose Garden Tour.

This was most-likely my final journey to Portland's famous International Rose Test Garden, located within the massive Washington Park.  We will have moved before it will bloom again, so the visit today was special.  The first thing I noticed upon entering Washington Park (home to the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Zoo and a host of other attractions and memorials) was the quiet.  The park is high above the city center and thick with giant trees and countless shrubs and flowers of a multitude of varieties.  Being a Monday, it was far from crowded, but I did see several people relaxing in the shade.  It was nearly three o'clock and quite warm, despite the sun beginning to sink lower in the west.
A magnificent old mansion just a few blocks from the entrance to Washington Park.  The original owners must have had a spectacular view of the city below and Mount Hood in the distance.
A view of part of the very impressive east entrance to Washington Park.
Instead of documenting each-and-every flower today, simply enjoying their beauty was enough.
Since the park is on hilly ground, the Rose Garden is on several terraces.

I was walking at this point and had been since I was three blocks from the entrance to Washington Park.  The steep terrain getting to the park really kicked my fanny.  I should add that too much sweat can't be good for the camera!  The walk to the Rose Garden wasn't far and along the way I could hear what were probably squirrels rustling around in the bushes. 
My camera doesn't capture red roses very well, so today--everything but red for your enjoyment.
The garden, as you may have guessed, is quite large.  A rose arbor frames a visitor.
This pinkish-cream colored beauty caught my eye, but I apologize for the fuzzy photo.
Young love among the roses.  They were kind enough to allow me to take their picture.
A gentleman relaxes on one of the many benches located throughout the garden.

The Rose Garden on a sunny day with lengthening shadows is always beautiful and today was no exception.  The rainbow of colors of the approximately ten thousand rose bushes is truly spectacular.  I wandered about, with few other visitors.  It was peaceful and perfect for contemplating the significance of today's visit.
This one reminded me of a strawberry milk shake.  How do the hybridizers do it?
Another visitor enjoying the garden.
Mr. Currey was the originator of the garden way back in 1917.
Fairly new statue dedicated to the "Royal Rosarians", Portland's unofficial ambassadors who promote Portland all over the world, as well as, the Rose Festival and Rose Garden.  Famous for their cream-colored suits and "Boater" straw hats, members of the organization each year proudly march in Portland's annual Grand Floral Parade.  Learn more about them: www.royalrosarians.org
This view shows some of the giant trees found throughout Washington Park.  The small pavilion has information about the International Rose Test Garden.
Ever see a rose this color?  I sure hadn't--that is, until today.
Next to the Rose Garden is a wonderful amphitheater.  We've attended several opera concerts here over the years.
On the way out of Washington Park, a reservoir demands a photo.

I took plenty of photos, finally exhausting the camera's battery and began the walk/jog home.  It's another fine memory of this beautiful park and wonderful city.  Hope your day was half as good.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Order of Benevolent Bliss, Inc.

My travel-jog today was supposed to be a visit to Pioneer Court House Square to enjoy the Mexican Independence Day celebration.  Not so fast.  Due to possibly age-related stupidity, the aforementioned festival was yesterday, September 15th, not today, September 16th.

Not to worry, sports fans.  Portland never fails to have some sort of festival available on nearly every weekend day and this Sunday was no exception.  Instead of Mexican Independence Day, it was a Gay Pride Fair.  The Fair was designed to provide access to services in a non-threatening environment.  Nice, eh!  As I slowed to a walk and entered the square, I saw what appeared to be a male chorus singing and it wasn't in Spanish.  Hmm-m-m...what was going on?

I turned to my left and saw two people dressed in most interesting outfits.  If I'd been from Kansas, I would have known I was no longer there.  I inquired if the two had any objection to my snapping a photo of them.  They were most kind and agreed to pose.  After taking the photo, I told them of my "travel-jogs" about Portland and told them they'd be world famous by this evening as I would publish a post about the event.  I asked how I should tell you about them and they referred me to a website called:  www.PortlandSisters.org.
On the left is a Postulant, indicated by the gray cowl and white face makeup.  A Postulant's task is to learn about the Sisters and the Order.  They have two Big Sisters to guide and train them during this part of their journey.  The next level for a Postulant is Novice.  On the right is a Fully Professed Sister or "Black Veil".  She is a full member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and dresses how ever her imagination takes her.  She has taken vows and is given a black veil as a symbol of her progression.  No knuckle-rapping with a wooden ruler here!
A subset of the Portland Gay Men's Chorus performs for the crowd.  They are seriously talented.
A view of part of the crowd enjoying the performance of the Portland Gay Men's Chorus.

I visited the website and found out all about them.  They are part of the Portland branch of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence and are nuns to the Gay Community.  I highly recommend you visit their website to learn for yourselves the good things they do for the LGBT Community.  They not only do charitable work, they also have wonderful sense of humor and are very nice.  I like that in a nun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An Oldie, But A Favorite.

Last night, sitting in my chair, I noticed that Michele had placed a bouquet of sunflowers beneath a painting called, "My Old Flight Boots".  It's a rather large work (30 x 40-inches) done in 2003 and has  always been a personal favorite, as well as, helping me get juried into the Portland Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery.  The sense of light in this work is probably the best I have achieved to date, if I may be so bold to say so.  It rented several times, but failed to sell, perhaps due to the subject matter.  Even today, looking at this painting takes me back to the countless experiences those boots shared with me and the many nations they touched.      
"My Old Flight Boots", 2003, oil on canvas, 30 x 40-inches, with sunflowers.

Today, I decided to attempt to capture the powerful yellow petals and dark brown centers of the sunflowers against the cream-colored wall and the warm, dark grays of the painting.  A professional photographer would have done much better, but despite that, I still wanted to share this with you.  It loses a lot cropped like this, but in it's real context, the scene is rather striking.  Have a good day tomorrow everybody!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fate, Luck Or Patience.....

August 11th, I was excited to deliver, "Dancing Waters", to the Portland Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery.  Since last spring, when I donated my last gallery painting to the Cascades AIDS Project annual art auction fund raiser, I've had no works there.  When an artist has no inventory, I was told the computer drops them out of the system and the directory.  This problem has stymied the gallery director for some time, with no resolution on the horizon.  Not exactly what I wanted to hear. 

The Artist Directory on the gallery website is the only way for most people to know if I'm really a member of the gallery.  In several previous posts I've mentioned the gallery, but even now, if you visit the website, you will not find my name.  As you may expect, I was less than pleased about this.  I was understanding, even patient, but finally wrote a couple of emails to the director asking, "What gives?".  The director assured me that everything had been done to upload an image of the painting and that my name would reappear in the directory.  When this did not happen, I was very, very disappointed.  Not only does this omission cause you to question my honesty about being a member, it also prevents potential buyers or renters from seeing my available work.

My patience was at an end, so late Wednesday night, (September 5th) I wrote an email to the director, expressing my frustration and announcing my intention to resign from the gallery.  Included was the fact that I would be visiting the gallery on Thursday (September 6th) to pick up my painting.  Thursday morning came and I was having coffee with a friend when he checked his phone for messages.  He said my wife had called and immediately called her to see what she wanted.

He passed me the phone and what I heard next almost made me fall off the chair.  She read an email  from the gallery director, informing me that the painting had sold on Wednesday, the very day I wrote my resignation email!  Her letter addressed other stuff, too, but I was so stunned, I didn't hear much after, "...it sold!"

So, instead of going to the gallery to fetch my painting, I stumbled home in a daze, somewhere between shock and euphoria.  Was it luck?  Fate?  Or was it patience?  After all, I had waited and waited to see my name returned to the directory.  What if I had given in to my anger and retrieved the painting a week sooner?  Or a day sooner?  I'm pleased beyond measure to say, we'll never know, but it's a fair guess to say it would have been given away.

So, now I will resign from the gallery on a positive note.  For current and future gallery members, I hope the museum begins to take better care of the Rental/Sales Gallery.  When we leave Oregon in April of next year, I would be required to resign anyway, since the gallery restricts itself to artists living in Oregon or Vancouver, Washington.  Could there possibly be a better way to bow out than with a sale?  

Saturday, September 8th, 2012  Update:

On the way home from the studio today, I stopped by the gallery to inquire who had purchased the painting.  The volunteers could find nothing on the sale and said they had no access to the director's office.  I thanked them and jogged home.  Once in the building, I ran into two friends who were picking up their mail.  I did the same and joined them in the elevator.  On the way up, I began telling Pat about the story of the painting.  She has seen the painting and seemed interested, so I exited the  elevator on her floor to finish the tale.
The story was at the end as I mentioned my stop at the gallery today, to find out who had made the purchase.  Pat, listening with a subtle grin on her face, admitted it was her!  You could have knocked me over with a feather!  You can imagine what must have been racing through her head as I told her the story of coming so close to picking the painting up just a day prior to her buying it.  She told me how much she loved the painting when she first saw it in my studio and reminded me that she had asked me about purchasing it.  At that time, I told her it was destined for the gallery and how I hate selling paintings to friends.  She is a determined lady and didn't let dopey old me stop her!  What an amazing chain of events, culminating in another painting having the best possible home.  You just can't make up stories like this!  
SOLD!  Wednesday, September 5th, 2012.  I changed the title to "Dancing Waters" when I submitted it to the gallery.  20 x 24-inches, oil on canvas, 2012.