Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Amazing Grace-Eirinn Abu", 16x20, oil on linen, award-winning paintings, paintings of musicians,saxophone players

"Amazing Grace-Eirinn Abu", 16x20, oil on linen

Note: This painting has won a second place award at The Venice Art Center's 2012 Portrait and Figurative exhibit!

Today I had every intention of doing something small, pretty and very impressionistic. But the painting of Eirinn Abu, which I did last week, kept nagging at me, since it was sitting right there accusing me of being nonchalant.

Nonchalant? Yes, I suppose sometimes I get nonchalant about paintings. I figure that if I am about 90% happy with a painting , then it can pass for done. In this case, I knew there were a couple things that needed attention, so in spite of my earlier desire to paint something simple, I spent another day on Eirinn.

I worked on his jeans and on the saxophone, which I had muddled through because I was tired. I added a glaze or two to the background and tried to bring the cross into more prominence without detracting from the musician.

Anyhow, I really am done this time! Below, is the painting that I completed last week. I think it's a bit better now, but I invite your comments.

"Amazing Grace-Eirinn Abu", 16x20, oil on linen

I've been working on this one for a few days and today I decided to call it done. Isn't it hard sometimes to know when to say "done!"????? On second glance there always seems to be something else to add subtract or change, and then one risks the freshness while trying to perfect the likeness.

I tried to keep this painterly and impressionistic, and didn't want to define the details too much, since the photo and distracting lighting left more questions than answers in my head. We all know better than to attempt a still life or portrait when there are lots of competing light sources. This was a good lesson for me, in trying to use the knowledge I have about light, and ignore the conflicts in the photo. I hope I was successful.

The sax player in the painting is Eirinn Abu, who is considered one of the finest instrumentalists in the world. Eirinn came to our church one day and played his sax, and he blessed every single person in the room with his beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. One could feel the Holy Spirit's presence as he played and it was very moving.

Eirinn has a wonderful testimony. In spite of all of his success in Nashville while performing with greats like Dolly Parton, Eirinn confessed that he had felt empty inside. Eventually he gave up the fast lane and now he goes from church to church and function to function (he especially has a heart for breast cancer victims), to play hymns of grace and redemption on his brass horn.

Although I played a woodwind instrument (bassoon) in the high school orchestra, I have always loved the horns most of all, and often choreographed dances to Handel when I had my ballet company. Now, I paint to the magnificent strains of both Handel and Eirinn Abu!

Eirinn came back to our church this past weekend with his beautiful wife Brandy, and gave a wonderful Christmas concert, that incorporated many different types of music into one concert. It was a real blessing to all of us to hear Eirinn again, and I sat in the front row so I could try to see if I was on the right track with my painting! The lighting was totally different, but it did help the painting a bit to see him perform again and study his features.

Thanks so much to Pastor Joy for taking the reference photo and giving me permission to use it, and thanks especially to the Lord for enabling me to paint this! It wasn't easy!

This painting is not for sale at this time. If you would like to hear and watch Eirinn play the sax, you can click here for a Youtube video.

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