Tuesday, November 27, 2012

After Our Meeting...

Sue saw her portrait today and overall, her reaction was positive.  For me, I couldn't believe how far off I was on their wall color.  Anyway, Anita gave me a sample and with a few other ideas to work on, I headed home. 
Sue with a copper-colored background, oil on canvas, 30 x24-inches (76 x 61-cm).

The color was easy to match and I placed it and a lot of new colors on her face.  You know how it is...if you change one thing, you must change everything else to keep it harmonious.  Luckily, it went quickly and I got so jazzed I called the girls to see if I could bring it back.  They said yes and I zoomed up to give them a look.  They liked what they saw and now I'll continue on it tomorrow.

It was a good day and I hope yours was too.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Welcome back from the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Hope those of you living in the United States had a chance to enjoy a few days off and some form of extra-special dinner to celebrate and reflect on your blessings.  A special "shout-out" goes to all of you who took time from your holiday to share with those less fortunate.  And between the economy and Hurricane Sandy, those numbered in the millions this year.  I salute your efforts to make your communities a better place to live.

So, it's Monday and time to get back to work.  I've been working for the past couple of months on a portrait of Sue Hawkins.  She's our wonderful friend and neighbor here in the building who commissioned the portrait of her partner, Anita.  Tomorrow, at precisely eleven AM, I have an appointment to show Sue, her painting.  It's not completed, but very close.  Close enough that I want her to see it and let me know how to make it better.  Normally, I wouldn't show it here until it was either finished or she has seen it, but every now-and-then I've just gotta have an adrenalin rush.  On the plus side, I don't think she has any suspicion that it will appear here this soon, so I'm relatively confident she won't see it.  It's 30 x 24-inches, oil on canvas.
I hope your Monday was safe and productive.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recycled "Old Flight Boots", 2007.

Okay, you've tolerated my obsession with Mount Hood and a remembrance of Mr. Reeves, so it's about time to feature some painting again.  A "thank-you" portrait has been on the easel for over a month now, but I can't show it until it's completed.  So, ladies and gentlemen, here, for your consideration, is a painting discovered deep in the cyberspace archives.

This photo, another in my never-ending series of "portraits" of my old flight boots was taken in 2007.  For some reason, the painting was destroyed and only this image remains.  My guess is the composition must have bothered me.  Can't remember for sure.  It's kind of interesting what you run across when scouring old, forgotten photos.

Friday, November 16, 2012

In Memoriam: Mr. Kirk Reeves, a Portland Icon.

A Portland icon, Mr. Kirk Reeves, also known as, "The Trumpet Man", passed away early this month.  The well-known entertainer was a familiar sight to travelers approaching the west on-ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge, as well as, Portland's Saturday Market.
November 3rd, 2011.  A smiling Mr. Kirk Reeves in position to begin work.  He was friendly and generous in allowing me to take photos and post them on this blog.

Daily, he would take up a position on a tiny pedestrian traffic island, perch on a stool, dressed in his signature white tuxedo, wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse ears.  His winning smile and trumpet entertained rush hour traffic with music and all manner of eye-catching whirligigs and games.

It was just over a year ago, November 3rd, to be exact, when I met him on one of my travel-jogs.  He was most pleasant to talk with and graciously allowed me to snap some photos and include him on my post for that day.
Mr. Reeves at work.  Notice the rubber chicken hanging from his music stand.  Rest well, sir.

Mr. Reeves was only fifty-six at the time of his passing and the countless citizens who were entertained and touched by this gentle man over the years will hold a candlelight vigil in his honor on November 18th at four PM, starting near the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge.  There is also a crowdfunding effort underway to create a memorial to Mr. Reeves, to be located in his spot on the on-ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge.  This is a wonderful example of how significant an impact one  kindhearted person can have on so many lives.

We'll miss you, Mr. Reeves.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Favorite Mountain

A fairly bad cold has laid me low these past few days--the first in nearly three years.  My fever broke yesterday and today all indications suggest the worst has passed.  I was relaxing in my chair late this  afternoon and decided to take in the view.  We enjoyed a rain-free day and with a crystal clear sky, there existed the potential for a great sunset.  As I swiveled the chair a hundred-eighty degrees, there was my favorite mountain, covered in the most beautiful fresh snow. 

For about ten minutes I took in this stunning sight, one that will soon be sorely missed.  But then, as I've done so many times before, I ran to fetch the camera.  I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but truly, if you're ever lucky enough to see something like this from your living room windows, I doubt few of you would behave differently.  It's just so beautiful, it demands to be shared.

I took the usual variety of shots, some zoomed a little and some a lot.  The sun was setting so quickly, before I knew it, the show was over.  I love looking at Mount Hood so much, I'll probably be snapping photos of it from the plane the day we depart Oregon for Hawaii.  I do hope you all had a good day, too.   

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kevin L A Neal Came By Today.

At long last, Kevin Neal came by today.  Finally, he caught a lucky break in his hectic life and we got to meet in-person before our spring time move.
Kevin with "My Old Flight Boots".  I wasn't trying to upstage him with the painting, rather there was  too much superfluous condo on his left which needed to be cropped.  Honest.

Kevin is a tremendously talented artist working in watercolors, oils and pencil.  In addition to his artistic gifts, he is a nice person, intelligent, politically astute and has a wonderful family.  You could say I'm a fan.
Kevin with some old guy who happened to stumble into the photograph.  Shameful self-promotion!

He brought along some samples of work I'd seen on his blog, too.  It's always great to see artwork in- person previously seen only on a computer screen.  We all know the challenges of capturing decent images of our art for the virtual world, so it was really special to view Kevin's "real" work today.

Over coffee, we discussed art techniques, galleries, our respective personal histories and even a little politics for spice.  After a photo session, he had to head home and either take a nap or watch college football.  Since he'd been awake since three AM, my guess is he'll do both--at the same time!

Thanks for stopping by, Kevin, and rest well, my friend!  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I couldn't pretend there wasn't a presidential election last night.  No matter how the contest turned out for you, there were several highlights for our nation, in my humble opinion.

First has to be the fact that the outcome was determined on election night.  No controversy, no gross violations of election laws, no cries for anyone stealing the election and no Supreme Court case.

Second, from the analysis I've read, the obscene amounts of money spent by so-called Super Pacs, may have actually done more harm than good to the candidates they supported.  When our Supreme Court ruled that political spending is essentially free speech, my fear was that the enormous amounts of money used to influence voters would, in fact, sway public opinion.

In an article about this issue, the author suggests that Super Pac money kept Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum in the Republican primary contest long after they would have had to give up for lack of funds.  That meant Mitt Romney was subjected to additional attacks by these two competitors within his own party and had to swing further to the right in order to eventually secure the nomination.  He had insufficient time to move toward the political center after being nominated and we saw how things worked out for him last night.

The highlight is that the American people were not "bought" in this election and I'm proud of US.

There are probably many additional bright spots, but my final one is a favorite:  Yesterday, our nation chose to move FORWARD.  History shows how, during difficult times, many of us yearn for the "good old days".  We want to turn the clock back to a time when the world made sense to us.  Of course, deep down, everyone knows the "good old days" really weren't.  I won't bore you with the countless examples of how bad things were, but you know it's true in your heart.

As I've aged, it's a bit of a battle to avoid the occasional lapse into negative thinking about the world of today.  To fondly think back to a simpler time, remembering mostly the good things.  Usually I catch myself before going there and focus on the future and moving forward.  It's a difficult thing, especially for older folks and those who haven't seen much of their own country, much less the world.  I've been lucky to have seen a lot of this planet and the interesting people who live on it.  Progressive thinking, respect, tolerance and understanding are part of me as a result of my travels.  It's my eternal hope that those of you who curse the direction our nation is taking, take a second to consider that everything you do today--was once considered radical and progressive and crazy by your grandparents or even your parents.  You were once thought to be, "going to hell in a hand basket", but you didn't and here you are, making many of those same judgments about the world of today.  We can't go back, no matter how wonderful your memories make it seem.  Adjust, adapt and move forward.  Always forward.

Here's what I saw this morning:
Despite the election, the BCS poll, or anything else...a New Day Dawned.  Let's make it a good one-- for ourselves and our nation.  That's all I have to say about that, so now, let's get back to making art.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Portrait By Lars Käker

Lars is a blogger pal who lives and paints in Germany.  His portraits are grand in scale and can be seen in museum and gallery exhibitions all over Germany.  He recently decided to begin a project consisting of a series of portraits of fellow artists from around the world.  Lars wrote me, explaining his plan and asking if I would consider being his first subject.

As you might expect, I was honored to be invited to be a part of his series.  Lars said he wanted to paint me in the jacket and cap I'd worn in a self-portrait he'd seen on my blog, so I suited-up in the requested attire, took a couple of photos and sent them to him.

Lars told me it would be about a month till the painting would be completed and precisely on schedule, an email arrived yesterday with an image of the portrait attached.  What a kick to see yourself painted by such a talented artist!  I immediately wrote to Lars, thanking him and heaping praise on his fine effort, considering the difficult subject he'd chosen!  I also asked him for permission to post his painting on this blog.  He was most gracious in approving my request, so now, here is Lars Käker's portrait of yours truly.
Wow!  Thanks, Lars!

If you would like to see more of Lars' work, visit his blog, portraits2null.blogspot.com.  It's on my blog list, too.  Have a good day.