Date: Friday, Aug 31st, 2018

Time: 5:00 pm

Location: Stuart’s Opera House

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“No one can walk out on their own story,” the Spirit of the West advised Rango in the movie of the same name. Or can they? I can’t remember any specific motivations that stirred me to take up painting but do recall the circumstances, a fortuitous intersection of large life events that occurred about six years ago: 60th birthday, retirement from Ohio University, & most staggeringly, the arrival of a beautiful baby daughter. Actually, now I think on it, there was an actual moment that felt much like a launching, an unexpected prompt from Motown Records (who I sometimes took “marching orders” from in younger years), when a series of postcard reproductions of early Smokey Robinson albums spilled out of a freshly opened box set. These colorful, almost technicolor stock cards, were further embellished & sent off to family members as a lark, and almost before I realized it, I was off. Experiments with collage led to a series of primitive watercolor & ink portraits of old-time jazz musicians. Finally, or currently rather, I’ve been engaged mostly with free form “abstract” expressions while still maintaining a regular drawing practice. At some juncture early on, I began sharing some images with friends. The response was sympathetic but not exuberantly enthusiastic. Something else was needed. Enter a rascally prankster alter-ego – Fess Toon – who appeared just in the nick of time & took over outright authorship of the paintings, effectively freeing me from “sensitive artist” syndrome & a few other clichéd artiste hang-ups. Though contrary, difficult, & more than a tad anti-social, Fess embodies the all-important spirit of industry, the get-it-done-&-goon-to-the-next-one action component I needed & still depend on. He thinks a fancy schmancy art show in this beautiful, old opera house is the very height of pretentiousness & time wasted.

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