I always start out writing my blogs without any idea how long or wordy they might become. Some end up being very short and to the point.
The men pictured here with me are quite simply Pillars in my life.
Let me start with the one in the middle. His name is Eric Dzenis. Mr Dzenis, or Eric as he likes me to call him, is a giant in the classical world of portraiture. Eric's work has appeared around the world and been on the walls of great corporations and residences of the wealthy and famous. May of the most well known automotive ad's featured in North American magazines in the 50's and 60's were illustrations by none other than Eric Dzenis himself. All true but he lives a very humble and quiet existence in a forested valley off Bayview in Willowdale, Ontario, where he spends his days and sometimes nights working on utter masterpieces, many today which will go largely unknown. His walls hold his impressions of the Canadian Prima Ballerina, Karen Kain among others.
I came to know Eric through his son, Uga Dzenis. Uga is my principle photographer for the reproductions of my work. Often, while waiting for changes in the photo studio, I spend many hours sitting with Eric in his living room where he recounts his many experiences in the world of art. I benefit greatly from these stories. They form a foundation for me as I forge out my own existence.
One of the things I love so dearly in my time with Eric is his keen interest in me. You see, most artists are known to be pretty full of themselves. Too preoccupied with their own endeavours to care about others. My late uncle Jack Reid used to joke: "If you want to know how good an artist is, just ask him...". Eric has never been that artist. He has always put me first in his conversations and seems to care little for his own story, rather to learn more about mine. (mine, by the way, pales in comparison to his.
Then there is the Gentleman to the far right. His name is Ken McCaw.
The best way to tell this story is to say this: One day you are working and living as if the world is your oyster. The next day you are laying in a hospital stroke ward and everything just simply STOPS.
Ken is/was/is a program writer and has done very well for himself creating software that makes things around us move/function and be organized. Up until his big career halt he was engaged in a contract with the Toronto Transit Commission.
Then one day he found himself laying in a bed in the ICU having just had a major stroke. "Everything just stopped" as he put it.
Ken is a very talented guy. A lifetime accomplished musician, business success, independent fully self employed professional, raised a beautiful daughter, and married to the most wonderful woman in the world next to my own wife (of course).
The story that I want to tell about Ken though, is his friendship to me.
When your life goes wrong, when you have all reasons to be bitter and angry you will not likely be an encouragement to anyone around you. In many cases tragic circumstances cause people to become introverted and removed. My friend Ken goes out of his way to be one of the greatest encouragers to me and my art and he does so on a daily basis. The texts, the emails. The weekly meetings for coffee or lunch at our fav Thai spot in Whitby. Ken could pass the hours complaining about his own lot but instead, he wants to know how I am doing.
Every time I see Ken I go away with a renewed sense of focus and purpose.
We all need pillars in our life. I have a few. Two of them are these two guys.
Thanks Eric and Ken.
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.