Sunday, December 30, 2012


Yes, indeed!  It's almost time to break out the 2013 calendar and start fresh.  And speaking of starting fresh....The condominium we've rented for over two-and-a-half years sold just before Christmas and it's been a bit hectic around here for about a month now.

We're still not exactly certain when we'll be moving, but our hope is it will be sooner than the final day of our lease, which expires at the end of April.  The chilly winter rains, which, by the way, we've tolerated with typical Portland good cheer for the past nine years, have become tiresome since we made the commitment to move.  Funny how that works.  Anyway, we are tremendously excited to get going and begin our new life in Hawaii as soon as possible.

We have already sold many seldom-used household items and others are sold, but won't be taken away until the move.  The new owners of the condo have expressed interest in purchasing much of our remaining furniture, which would be great.  We hope to know in about a week, the exact date of departure.

All of this, especially keeping the condo "show ready" for visits by clients, an inspector, a handyman and an appraiser, substantially diminished the old concentration, as well as, the time to work.  Now, with only a few details to hash out, I've been getting back to the easel.  Currently, I've got three portraits going, trying to finish them all before we go.  That might sound easy to some of you out there who work quickly and with confidence, but it's not that way for me.  The portrait of Sue, seen in my last post, has morphed dramatically, as have the other two.  A few posts back you may remember the portrait of Pat.  It has become a complete do-over with a new, more introspective pose.  The other work-in-progress, Sam, has also gotten a fresh start.

The two do-overs are completely my fault.  I'm a pleaser and in these two cases, trying to please the subjects, I failed to follow my true feelings about the poses.  I've discovered over the last few years, particularly in portraiture, if I fail to insist on what I feel is the best pose, the work suffers.  There is little doubt that some part of me is unhappy and it comes out in the painting.  Invariably, this has resulted in starting over once the realization of what I've done becomes burdensome.  The subjects have never protested the changes and I think they actually appreciate the explanation and admission that it's my failure.

In the case of Sue's portrait, it was a simple matter of time.  The longer I work on it, the more clearly I see necessary improvements.  Luckily, Sue, who is an accomplished sculptress, understands and supports me in the seemingly never-ending changes.  She even agreed to pose for what I hope is the last time, a few days ago.  I explained the reasons for it and she said yes.  She has seen the many alterations and always voiced her strong approval.  The painting is now in its final stage, but, you've heard that before!  The compositional issues are finally resolved and now it's a matter of value adjustments to her clothes.  When I post it, I believe you will agree that it's a better painting.

So, I sincerely hope you all have an entertaining celebration to ring in the New Year.  Let us hope it has at least some resolution to the hopes we all have for the planet.  Let us hope that some day we'll see a time when innovation and creativity--in all fields of endeavor--are no longer held hostage by greed and profitability.  I'll stop now, before I break out the soapbox and really get spooled up.