Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

We had a big storm on the 13th and lost power for a bit, so I couldn't get on-line yesterday. Here is a valentine post a day late. A painting major named Patricia sat for this portrait in my studio @ MECA two years ago on Valentine's Day. Sometimes my models have specific imagery that they would like to have incorporated into their portraits. At other times, the ideas for the background images evolve spontaneously as I work. In Patricia's portrait, I was working on a completely different background when a bouquet of pale green orchids arrived for her. It was a Valentine's Day gift from her father.
Earlier that morning I had received a Valentine’s Day gift from my father. I'd run down to the Art Mart to purchase material’s for Patricia’s portrait and was on my way back to my studio when I saw two men in black tuxedos with bright red vests and bow ties coming out of the men’s room. I asked them if they were barbershop singers. They looked surprised and answered, yes! I asked them if they were performing in the building. They said, no, that they were hired to sing to someone in the Baxter building down the street, and they had come to the Porteous building by mistake. As we walked down the hall together, I told them that my Dad had been in a barbershop quartet, and that he had died several years ago. I said that seeing them made me miss him. We reached the lobby where the two other singers from the quartet were waiting. One of the men that I had walked down the hall with whispered to the others and then they all faced me and started to sing. I was overcome with emotion. I felt as if my father was there, singing to me. I cried through the entire song, which of course was something corny – all barbershop tunes are corny. And when they were finished, each of those four men gave me a big hug and told me, "Happy Valentine’s Day." So when Patricia’ s gift from her father arrived, I knew that I had to erase the background I was working on and add that bouquet. This piece was completed with Spirit as a collaborator.

Patricia's Valentine Bouquet, 2006
pastel, charcoal, oil, and watercolor on Rives BFK, 29" x 41". For Sale.

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