© 2008 -- 2011 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Harvard Square

At Au Bon Pain the old men sit around
a table, scratch their noses, and contemplate
the fate of kings and queens then demonstrate
their prowess with a calculated frown.

A young musician plays her violin.
Her notes compete with phrases in the air
and foreign words that jostle through the square
like cups and napkins blowing in the wind.

Beside a tree a great dane lies untended,
doesn’t move for a boy with purple hair,
doesn’t mind a woman lost in prayer,
keeps its head down until, its vigil ended,
it rises when its master says, “Come on.”
Old men in baggy pants exchange their pawns.

Originally published in A Matter of Mind, Foothills Publishing, 2004.
© copyright 2004, 2009 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic Blog.
All rights reserved.

I had a conversation with an artist named Kashley yesterday. He was alone in a gallery in Roswell, Georgia. He had told the owners of the gallery, both of whom had other commitments, that he would mind the gallery for them since he was going to come in and paint there that day anyway. He has a series of limited edition still lifes that are all about cocktails, and he likes to display the original next to the reproduction so that people can see that the reproductions are not digitally enhanced. So he had an original there, and he was painting a new picture.

The pictures are extremely detailed. They include vodka bottles or whiskey bottles. A liquid being poured into a glass. Glass ashtrays. Cocktail glasses with olives in them. I'd seen the work before, and what I admire about it the most is the way he works with the transparency of the glass, the way the light plays through it and then through the liquid, and the way he handles the texture of the surfaces that can be seen through the glass--a table, or a wall, or a fireplace.

It takes him three months to complete one of the paintings. The process begins with staging the still life and taking hundred of pictures of it. Then he takes a month to complete the first rough painting, which he then goes back to and paints over, filling in detail and pulling out color and light. This second painting takes another month. He then repeats the process again, adding more detail and removing brush strokes.

He also does abstracts which grow out of the textures and colors he finds in nature. He's been painting professionally, he told me, since 2006, and he currently has work in galleries in three different states. You can see some of his work on his Web site here, but it's much more impressive when you can see the actual work in front of you.

I enjoy the paintings, and I enjoyed the conversation with him. And I enjoyed watching him work. I have no other reason for telling you about him than that.

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