Friday, May 23, 2014

22 Years in the Making

Back in 1992 during a Friday Evening Gallery Walk in Chicago I was in an art gallery when I came across a painting by Charles Shannon. Not sure what it was that drew me to this painting but I truly loved it. It was a different style almost even primitive compared to what I was being trained in at the Palette and Chisel at the time.

It just so happened that this particular painting was used on the promotional card for the opening so I was able to bring a copy of it home with me besides the one I already locked away in my head.
I lived with this post card for a few weeks before I decided to make a copy of it.
I am sure I still have the promo card somewhere buried in my studio but not sure where, along with a few other things I have been looking for as well.

I have attached an image below of the copy I did back in 1992.

The reason I am bringing this up is while I was down in Apalachicola this past May for "The Forgotten Coat Plein Air Event" that little image crept back into my head.

This was my fifth year there and I have a few spots I have come to really enjoy. One of them is Apalach of course the other one is East Point. Carrabelle is charming and there are some fine things in Port St Joe, the splendor of the Cape, and some wonderful colors up in Mexico Beach as well but the sunrises in East Point get me every year. I am not one to repaint a scene because of sales but I am one to repaint a scene that enamors me every time I see it.
This year every morning I started off with a sunrise in East Point, one of three spots all in a line, right next to one another.

This strip of land I am referring to is comprised of some old Oyster shanties that have been out of business now for a few years, except for Lynn's, thankfully.
From the waterway they take on one view but from the street side they take on something totally different. I have driven by them probably hundreds of times in the past 5 years.
I have even eye balled them and shot numerous photos with the intent of painting them from both sides.
This is where sale-ability can creep into your mind and send you driving further down the road looking for a "prettier" scene.
Well this year my dear friend Greg LaRock just so happened to paint those shacks from the roadside in the late afternoon, in my mind the "not so pretty" side.

                                   Greg LaRock - East Point Shadows -

This painting sold so there goes my insight on what is truly sale-able or not. Never had that anyway.

In any case after seeing Greg's painting and admiring what he did I decided it was time to paint those shacks. In my head as I told him, was this painting I have been carrying around with me for the past 22 years.
Now granted it is not the same scene however this I believe is similar to what Monet` was referring to when he said an artist should carry a painting in their mind before painting it. I did not have a 12x24 which would have been more fitting for this composition but my quest to paint it would not subside so I did it on a 12x16.

The wonderful play of shadows and shapes in this line of shanties with a palm at the end is what was engraved in my head. So being old maybe my minds eye isn't as quite as refined as I would have liked and remembered but the big picture is there.

Knowing that I did not have enough frames and was not intending on submitting this to the show, I did not bother to finish it. I will, now that it is back in the studio, adjust a few things and call it a day.
I am sure Mr Shannon's painting will creep into my mind yet again when the right scene presents itself.
As an artist it is amazing how much inspiration and past experiences we carry with us and draw from and continually utilize at all times.

The kicker for me was when I got back to my studio and actually dug up this old copy. It was buried and I wasn't even sure I still had it. When I finally found it I turned it over to check the name of the artist which I had forgotten, I was amazed and delighted at what I found.

Who back in 1992 would have ever thought I would be painting down in Apalachicola of all places, The Forgotten Coast!
I titled my painting - "East Point" figured it was fitting.


Eric Bowman said...

Doo do Doo do (Twilight Zone theme music) very cool story, Ken...and nice piece (even if it's just a dinky 12x16)...

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting. Great story.Our life as a painter is so often circular.

Rick Delanty said...

Very nice, Ken--has an historical softness you captured, as tho looking at Shannon's scene through the lens of time--
I love this!