Norman Leyden was a nationally known conductor, composer, clarinetist, and educator. He was best known as the conductor of the Oregon Symphony Pops orchestra, however he also worked with Glenn Miller during his years in the US Air Force. More recently, Mr. Leyden performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Pink Martini. I photographed Norman during his induction into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2008, and used one of the photos for my pencil drawing of him. It was recently on display at the “Tribute to Norman Leyden” concert at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall in Portland. I was very fortunate to have met Norman just weeks before, and he seemed so pleased with the copy of the pencil drawing that I gave him. Norman Leyden passed away July 23, 2014.
This is the second grant that I have received from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and thanks to this opportunity, I was able to attend this year’s Annual Portrait Society of America’s Conference held in Washington DC. I observed painting demos featuring the top portrait artists in the country, and received portfolio critiques from the same portrait artists. One thing that was emphasized was the importance of drawing from life, which I have been neglecting for much too long. Since returning from the convention, I have been inspired to sketch from life on a regular basis, and now I see why it is so important in my progression as an artist. This 30-minute sketch was done while my daughter was in town for her birthday this month.
During the past few months, the film crews at Oregon Art Beat have been filming in my studio, and on location, for my segment on Oregon Art Beat! The segment is finally airing tonight, but you can also watch it online any time here . Thanks to Robe Imbriano, Greg Bond, and William Ward for doing such a great job!
Earlier this year, I was commissioned to create the poster for the October 2013 Legendary Blues Cruise, and I have
just returned from this seven-day blues festival at sea! This is my second poster for the Blues Cruise (the 2007
poster can be seen (here). This time, I was on board the Ms. Maasdam as the commemorative artist, sailing out of Fort Lauderdale with stops in Key West, New Orleans, and Progreso Mexico. The performers included Irma Thomas,
Los Lobos, Marcia Ball, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tommy Castro, Guy Davis, Lucky Peterson, Ruthie Foster, and many others including special guest Johnny Winter! Thanks again to Roger Naber and the Legendary crew for making this an amazing experience! Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I have put together a photo album to share. Check out my photos at this link
I have been creating original pencil drawings for Thara Memory’s American Music Program benefit concerts for three years, and this year was no exception. “Nothin’ But the Blues”, featuring Esperanza Spalding, took place at the Gerding Theater on August 18. I am so pleased that my original pencil drawing of Esperanza and Thara helped to raise $10,000 for the program!
It is an incredible honor to have my pencil drawing of Pinetop’s hands featured on his new headstone at his gravesite in McLaurin Cemetery, near Clarksdale, Mississippi. Born on July 7, 1913, Pinetop Perkins played with Muddy Waters for twelve years, and was one of the last great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen still performing when he passed away on March 21, 2011 at the age of 97. Many attribute his long life to his love of McDonalds, cigarettes, his music, and, of course, the ladies. He received three Grammy awards, the latest just a month before he died. My original pencil art of Pinetop’s Hands at the Piano was created using my photo of him just a year earlier as reference. The image also appears on special edition T-Shirts, with proceeds going to the Pinetop Perkins Foundation. (http://www.pinetopperkinsfoundation.org/ppfstore.html)
I am pleased to start out the new year with a new portrait! Everyone who stopped by Portland Open Studios saw the portrait in it’s beginning stages, and I’m happy to say that Zac’s portrait is finally finished and is now hanging side by side with his sister, Zoe’s portrait!
I am happy to say that I finished my Waterfront Blues Festival 25th Anniversary painting just in the nick of time! This painting is the result of the thousands of photographs I have taken during the many years I have been attending the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Oregon. This festival is unique in that it is a benefit for the Oregon Food Bank, which brings the community together in a very special way. I knew I would do something with all of my photos someday… and that day finally came! I chose the 25th anniversary of this festival to create the painting with some of the most memorable people and moments. I hope everyone has fun finding all of their favorite musicians! To find out more about the Waterfront Blues Festival, visit Waterfront Blues Festival. 10% of the print sales of this painting will go to the Oregon Food Bank.
After many months of work, my portrait of Zoe, which I started last October during Portland Open Studios, is finally finished! This is the first portrait I have done using the new color palette from my two-week portrait workshop last August in NYC. Zoe’s parents were thrilled with the painting, but the very best comment came from Zoe herself, when she whispered to her mom… “I feel like I’m famous!”
I am very pleased to have received my first Professional Development Grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. This grant made it possible to attend a two-week portrait painting workshop at New York’s School of Visual Arts, taught by master portrait artist Marvin Mattelson , in August 2011. The class, titled “Classical Realism: Portrait Painting in Oil”, also included a trip to the Metropolitan Museum, where Mattelson critiqued over two dozen paintings, explaining how the artists achieved their life-like portraits. Above is my partially finished class portrait, done from life, over a period of four days. I have since finished several new paintings that incorporate the new color palette and information I learned during the workshop. Click the following links to view my newest works: Recent Work