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Thursday, June 30, 2011

South Africa: The Yellow Earring

Even though she and her twin sister were dressed similarly, it is also interesting to take note of this young woman's individual taste in accessories. I had fun painting this predominately yellow, beaded earring that is blowing slightly in the gentle breeze.

I could sense her anticipation. She faced the setting sun, taking a moment, with eyes closed, before she made her entrance to waiting guests.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

South Africa: The Other Twin

 This painting is the second in my series of paintings inspired by South Africa.  After searching through all of my photos from my trip to South Africa I finally found the one I was looking for: a strong reference photo of the twin sister. Even though painting the first twin (see earlier posts) was such a pleasure and challenge for me, I somehow felt like I wasn't really finished until I did a portrait of her sister. She could not be ignored since she was the other half of the story.
The minute I started this second painting it brought back memories of that warm day in March (South Africa's early Autumn) when we were invited to their family birthday party and treated as honored guests. It was late in the day. The soft light was beautiful. There was anticipation in the air. Everyone was waiting for the birthday girls to arrive. I had no idea what to expect and assumed they would look like everyone else who was there, dressed nicely and ready to party.When the young women arrived, modeling  incredibly detailed, colorful costumes, it was breathtaking. Their contrasting colors enhanced the scene. I was not expecting this. It was enchanting.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

World War II Portrait: Hjalmer "Pete"

Hjalmer, "Pete" 16x20 oil on canvas (c)2011
In August of 1941, Pete was heading to Camp Grant, Illinois for basic training. It was World War II and he was drafted. His posture and facial expression tell a lot more than I could ever say or imagine and so I'll let the painting and photo speak for themselves. (I've included the reference photo this time because sometimes I think it is interesting to see the very beginning of my creative path.)
 At the completion of this piece, I find myself thankful on several levels. I love a good challenge and this painting did it for me. The research, the conversations with some of  those who were closest to Pete and then the final surprise presentation to the recipient, his son, were all so rewarding. My life has been enriched and it was a privilege to get to know Pete in a special way. Throughout history one of the highest forms of honoring someone is to have their portrait painted; I'm so glad Pete was honored in this way.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

World War II Portrait: The Rich Details Exposed

I enjoy going to estate sales. It is a chance to have a look into someone else's life and imagine who they were and what they were like. To see a part of their history, a time capsule of sorts, just by viewing their belongings. I feel that way about this painting. I wish I could personally thank Pete and the person who took this photo. The rich details exposed here are rare and so interesting. Once again, I am experiencing the privilege of painting objects (and a portrait) that have captured my attention and enriched my life.