Thursday, March 25, 2010
Paul Lawrence Dunbar
This painting has an interesting origin. One Sunday morning I was reading the paper, and saw an article entitled "Dunbar Pictures Wanted", or something like that. I just assumed someone was looking for photographs of Dayton native Paul Lawrence Dunbar the poet. I never read the article.
Later that afternoon, my wife was going to give me a haircut. I spread some papers on the floor, set my chair on them, and sat down. Right between my feet was that Dunbar article. This time, I noticed that it was actually an art contest, with a Dunbar theme! This gained my interest, so I read the article. The Dunbar library at Wright State University was sponsoring an art contest, and all you had to do was create a work of art based on one of his works. I went to the library and borrowed a book of his writings.
I also read a short biography about him, since I didn't know much about him. I also visited his grave at Woodland cemetery. My muse just did not want to cooperate. I was completely dry for an idea, and the deadline for entries was looming. One of his poems was entitled Lincoln, and was exactly that: an homage to Abraham Lincoln. Since my art mentor was Lloyd Ostendorf, renown Lincoln scholar it suddenly all came together and the picture you see is what I created.
I won first prize, which was $750 and the local paper wrote an article about the contest. I'd post the photo of me that was in the paper, but I look like a doofus in it. The painting is now part of Wright State University's Paul Lawrence Dunbar Library's permanent collection, and you can go see it in their African American Studies room.
If I hadn't of gotten a haircut that day none of this would have ever happened!!