Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Dark Horse

Dark Horse is the brand of cigarettes in Yogi's shirt pocket. I noticed the label as I was completing the sketch on the canvas. The warm pinks in the background is to duplicate his sunburned skin. When I was sketching his sweat strewn clothes and hat I could still smell the stench and the irony that I found him going to the laundromat with a cart loaded with clothes. 

I met three students this week that I invited to join the (In)Visible Men. I asked Shaun to bring his friends by my office next week to chat. I may be working on these simultaneously. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015


I'd seen Yogi on Constitution Trail over the years and he'd always say hello when I'd pass him either running or biking. And I'd always want to hear his story. Since I'd planned to do a series of portraits of homeless people I knew Yogi would be a part of the series. I finally ran into him as I was driving on Clinton Avenue. He was pushing a grocery cart filled with laundry despite being unbathed himself. I stopped and this was when I learned his name and invited him to model for a painting which he obliged.

I'm taking a short break from the (In)Visible Men to explore (In)Visible People. Yogi's sunburned skin inspired this first layer of coral pink. If you look closely you can see the first sketch of Jonathan when his portrait was originally intended to be a single portrait. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"I thought you had forgotten me!"

These were Aaron Spiller's words when I ran into him in the concourse returning from his summer break. I had not seen him since he posed for the painting and we're not Facebook friends. He was totally unaware that I'd completed his painting so we walked to my office to show him on my iPad. When I opened the pic his face glowed and you knew "he had been seen." I didn't want to take a pic of him today because I wanted to save the memory for myself.

Irma from Michael's called as I was doing my stair workout to say the frame for Jonathan and Nate was complete and how impressed she was with the piece. She asked if she could watch me paint. A year and a half ago we were total strangers on different paths and our trajectories intersected changing our lives forever.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Champaign will be seeing Black men!

I received an invitation to exhibit (In)Visible Men at the Champaign YMCA September 17-October 30, 2015. "Jonathan and Nate" will get their first public viewing. I'm liking the idea of shows in spaces that make art accessible to people who would not typically go to a traditional gallery space. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Love Illinois

Well, not the winters but the state has embraced me in my career at Illinois State and now with my art. I was selected Illinois Artist of the Month for August and featured on a web site.