Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ian Anderson



I was introduced to the music of Jethro Tull by a friend in high school art class. He brought in their first greatest hits collection, and as soon as I heard Bouree I was hooked! From the intense musicianship to the thought-provoking lyrics it was the band for me. I even painted the cover to their Aqualung album on my bedroom wall during my college years!

I saw them in concert five times, four of those during the "classic" years of 1978-1982. Definitely some of the best concerts I have ever seen, and I've seen a lot! Always theatrical, always humorous, always a great guitar solo from Martin Barre, and back then Ian did his amazing flute solo. I remember sitting on the campus commons, reflecting on some of their lyrics. Even though ian Anderson and I disagree on just who God is, his lyrics forced me to re-examine my own beliefs, and reach my own conclusions. For that I thank him.

The portrait of Ian was one of the first I had ever done where there was no prep work: just a blank canvas and have at it. It's a fun albeit nerve wracking way to paint, but I was satisfied with the results. It was painted in 1980, and I have no idea where the original is, buried in my studio somewhere. Aqualung is still buried beneath several coats of paint that it took to cover him up when Dad sold the house. I drive by that house sometimes and it's fun to image him still there, sleeping under all those coats of paint.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vincent Price



I can't recall when I first became aware of actor Vincent Price. It might have been on the 1960's teevee show Batman when he played Egghead. All I know is that I grew to admire his acting ability in films such as Dr. Phibes, Conqueror Worm, The Raven, House of Wax and many, many more.

He was a true renaissance man, having been an author, an art collector, and a pretty decent cook as I've been told. I really enjoy his radio appearances on shows such as Duffy's Tavern, Suspense, the Saint, etc.

He was the only one of the "old guard" I actually got to meet. There used to be a theater troupe in the Midwest known as the Kenley Players. They would always come through my home town, and on opening night they would have a cast party at a local pizzeria. The restaurant's walls were adorned with autographed photos of the actors of the day who ate there.

In the early 70's, I got word that Vincent was appearing as Fagan in Oliver Twist. My dad took me and the family to the pizzeria that night, and I got to meet Vincent, shake his hand and get his autograph. One of the happiest moments of my life!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wolf Man


Out of all the classic Universal Monsters, I think I've painted Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man more than any other character. I've been painting him since I was in my teens, and still haven't tired of him. Maybe it's because out of all the monsters, he really didn't like being who he was. Dracula seemed to enjoy the power he had over mere mortals. The Frankenstein monster did elicit sympathy because of his loneliness, but Larry Talbot just wanted a break from turning into a blood thirsty animal every full moon.

Lon Chaney Jr portrayed Talbot with much pathos, and you really felt for his character. While you thrilled to see him run through the forest, you also rooted for him to find a way to break the curse, or at least I did. Chaney, Karloff and Lugosi never got their due in their time, but how many actors created iconic characters whose exploits are celebrated sixty, seventy years after their first appearances?

Hats off to make up wizard Jack Pierce, who created the visages of these monsters, but moreso to the folks who brought them to life!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stephani


This is a portrait I painted of my oldest daughter, Stephani. It seems like this was painted not so long ago. Stephani will be graduating college this year. Where does the time go? She was such a beautiful baby how could I not paint her?

Truth is, I really enjoy painting both my kids, and have done so quite often. With some success some of the time!! Children are a blessing from the Lord, and I couldn't be more proud of both my girls. Parenting is a challenge since no one gives you a manual. You just hope you do your best and learn from your mistakes.

Stephani is going to graduate school, and plans on being an English teacher. I know she will be an excellent one. She shares my love of reading, and hopes to instill that in her students. I can't believe all the activities that she has been, and is involved with, and still keeps her grades higher than I ever got mine.