All is quiet as the microphone slowly lowers down.
“LADIEEES and GENTLEMEN…… Welcome to tonight’s featured event…… A battle royal of Pigmented Pugilism.”
“In this corner, from Bradford, England…….wearing decades of complimentary colors, recipient of high praise, honor and financial reward……the original, self proclaimed Color Bully…..the reigning King of Chroma…….DAAAVID HOCK-neyyyy.” ( loud cheers)
“And in this corner, from San Anselmo, Californa………..the challenger, weighing in with no current recognition but sporting high hopes……..the Prince of Pastel, the Tarantula of Tint, the Rainbow Warrior………. GEEeeEENE McHUUUUUGHHH”
Bedlam erupts as the crowd goes beserk in a fevered pitch of expectation only a pollen starved hive of bees would understand.
Honestly, I don’t know a great deal about the respected Mr. Hockney outside of his unabashed use of strong color. And that he indeed once described himself as a color bully. And that I am grateful for his inspiration in setting the stage tonight.
Gene, on the other hand, I have know for twenty five plus years. He is a natural artist. So talented, the story goes, that during his birth he sketched the doctor and nurses who delivered him, handing them a tidy 8 x 11 drawing before they had a chance to slap him on the ass and hand him back to his mother. He is the kind of artist us wannabe artists want to punch.
As you may have noticed, currently he is big time into flowers. Averaging 22 x 30 inches, going up to 30 x 40 inches, they are drawn on archival paper using oil pastel, dry pastel, and dry pigments. It is safe to say your rods and cones approach vibratory overwhelm at warp speed, but somehow, miraculously, stop just short of complete sensory overload. The works are nicely framed and covered with glass.
When I walked into Gene’s living room several weeks ago he had twenty or more pieces inhabiting the space. Immediately, I noticed two things. One, his power bill would be going down because there was now no need to turn on any lights. And two, when contemplating these paintings, one feels really happy. The uncomplicated, tail wagging, no mind kind of happiness that makes you grin.
Natural talent that he may be, Gene has not always been prolific. A lot of the time, he has been “getting ready to get ready”. Some false starts, a lot of stretched canvas in the storage room, concepts that never quite made it out to to the light of day. But he has kicked things into gear with this flower series. I hope he sells them by the truckload.
Even though he didn’t really need it, he now has some real motivation. In January, his wife, Deborah was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She is a supremely sweet woman, wonderfully giving and treasured by all her friends. Debbie has started her chemo and is truly a champ. She and Gene have always been a great team, powered by their Spiritual Master, their love and humor, and now, the appreciated help of their friends. People stop by often, offering whatever they can do to bring love and energy.
One of Deborah’s friends has a very successful yoga studio in Los Gatos, California. It is in an elegant, spacious setting. Jennifer Prugh, the owner, has graciously offered to display Gene’s new works for a period of time so he can make many sales to help defray rising medical costs. The yoga studio is called “Breathe” and the show will be there beginning in April. Jennifer is also smart, I think. She knows her clients will feel happy while yoga-ing underneath the auspices of Genes’ art work. More return business for her.
Never accused of enthusiastically embracing modern technology, Gene has no website although he promised me one is forthcoming. If any of you out there in cyberspace want to add a little…..well, make that- a LOT of color to your life, feel free to contact Gene at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He does know how to use the post office and ships flowers anywhere.
Love to you, Deborah and Gene. Goodnight All.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,