Monday, June 29, 2015

Hotter and My Neighbor Jim

Well, it's been getting warmer now that summer is here. I hate the heat because in the afternoons there will be no painting in the studio because it gets too hot in here. One day while I was working on the bluff painting my neighbor Jim came by. Jim is 92 now and a WW2 vet. We can both talk each others ear off. If I was going to remember Jim for anything it would be not for his part in WW2 but more for his love of nature. Jim grew up in Santa Barbara and as a kid he would ride his bike to the bottom of the mountains and then thumb a ride from anyone headed up the mountains so he could hike miles to a campsite. From there he'd watch for animals, hike more, fish and just enjoy being a kid up in the mountains surrounded by nature. Age keeps him from doing all of these things now but he can name any peak I point out here in the valley. He can describe in depth details about any area around here. Jim, more than me or anyone else I know around here, is who God created this part of California for.

So Jim comes by and tells me that before he dies, which I suppose at 92 he thinks about, he wants to paint a life sized California condor....they are very big birds. He wants me to give him advice for either stretching the canvas or just making a panel...at that size I suggest stretching canvas over a frame that he plans to build. I suggest paints, acylics, and other details for him and off he goes. A week goes by and Jim calls to tell me he'd like me to come see his setup before he stretches the canvas. Linda and I go by and he's got a frame the size of a garage door! No I'm not exaggerating. Needless to say Linda, Jim and I all tackled stretching that canvas which was actually a paint drop cloth he bought at the hardware store since he couldn't afford or find regular canvas in that size. It took us about and hour to do it. I loaned JIm my canvas pliers but we didn't use that, just pulled on it with both hands. We had my electric stapler with lots of extra staples so thank god for that! 

Right now Jim is painting that baby. Why? Because Jim has a love of nature and wants to share his love of the California condor with anyone who can't miss running into a life sized painting of a condor....that is a big painting and if I can get some shots of it when he's done I will post them. Did I mention Jim has only sketched when he was a kid growing up....never painted at all! I'm proud of his drive. Helping Jim with his goal has been the most fun in art this year for me. He needed the help and I enjoyed sharing whatever it is I could share. Fun stuff!          

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