Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oldies But Goodies--Part l

From Top:
Oil on Panel 11X14

The Lion
Oil on Canvas 16X20

Appian Way
Oil on Canvas 16X20

Well, my digital camera is on the fritz, and I can't take photos of my new stuff. So I thought I'd go back to some of my earlier work--pre-blog--and post a variety of things I've done in the recent past. I've only been painting since 2001, so a lot of paintings from those early years are gone--given away, painted over or in a few cases, sold. So "recent past" means maybe since 2006. I ask that you indulge me, at least until my newly ordered camera arrives in early September.
"Pop" is a portrait of my step father, John Schott. He was my mother's third husband, and she his third wife. They met long after I left home and had married. Mom died very suddenly in 1982, less than a year after we had convinced them to move to Maine, so Pop was nearby and under our care until he died in 1994. He was an old time New Yorker, rode the subway all his life, never learned to drive and worked as a steamfitter on many NYC skyscrapers, the last being the World Trade Center. He had an unusual gift--playing the piano by ear. We figured that he knew at least 600 songs-oldies but goodies--he just needed to know the key and the first note. He had very poor eyesight, hence the coke bottle glasses, and was rejected by his piano teacher as a child because he couldn't see the music. But he learned to play anyway and fortunately, I had the good sense to record a lot of his "repertoire" which my son used as accompaniment at his wedding reception, and we still listen to at family gatherings. A really neat guy was Pop. I painted this from a photo I found of him in an old album.
I painted "The Lion" from a photo I found in a book called "The Art of Being a Lion." As a Leo I felt obliged! I tried a very loose style. Somehow it works.
"Appian Way" is after a photo in a book I have called "A Portrait of Rome." My son spent a college semester there and gave it to me as a gift. He has gone back to Rome many times, proposed to his wife there, and now every couple of years acts as a tour guide for high schoolers who visit Rome. All of my children have travelled extensively. My oldest, Cristin, spent a couple of months in Denmark as a student. My other daughter Catie went around the world in a program called "Semester at Sea" as a college junior. My stepson, Ben, spent some time in Spain. Amazing what resources young people have these days. When I was a kid, it was a big trip to go to Jersey from NYC!
I'll do a couple more of these before we get to some new work, and new possibilities.


Barbara Pask said...

Hi Jack, All of these are nice, it's interesting to look at the older works to see how far we've come. I love your stories. Your step father sounded like a great guy. How did your show go? Guess no photos of that with your camera on the blink. Did you have good weather and sales?

Jack Riddle said...

Barb--thanks. The show was OK--good weather and some sales, but I've had better. It was good enough to finance a new camera! My wife Bonnie started a line of note cards illustrated by my paintings, and she sells a ton at shows which takes up some of the slack if I don't do well. Next show is a couple of weeks--Labor Day Sunday
(8/31)--and that is usually my best one.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

When I was a kid we drove from Holbrook to Marshfield and I thought it was forever! 45 minutes!
Anyway, I can see the seeds of your current work in these paintings.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed these oldies but goodies -- and the stories behind them. Very cool!


Amy Sullivan said...

Your Pop was a treasure.It makes me so happy to hear story's like this.
Opening your heart & family to Pop &
keeping his music alive.
You and your family are Good Peoples!