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Oh, man. I am such a wuss.

This last weekend we took US 101 South to the bottom of western Oregon in a rented convertible. Red, baby. In the process I got myself a lovely sunburn, and soon my face matched the car. OD’ing on sunshine aside, we met some highly intelligent and wonderfully genial folks [you guys have no idea what a delightful breath of fresh air you are].

The primary point of the trip was to attend a reception at the Signatures Gallery in Brookings, for an *artist whose work I’d discovered about three-maybe-four years ago. And I’ve been itching to see this guy’s paintings and drawings close up for some time.

Wow. Oh, WOW. I was thoroughly blown away by his surreal compositions and textures, as the symbols and metaphors began sinking into my subconscious. Usually I’m not a freak for details, but his are subtle, labyrinthine, and insidious — especially in his pen and ink drawings.

His works possess a depth that just cannot be squeezed into a jpeg, and I’m still digesting what I saw. The compositions were so quiet and deceptively gentle, yet howling with repressed emotion at the same time. Works from one series play at the traps and trappings that elders and society force onto their children.

There is a lot of pain in a couple of the pieces, and it absolutely floored me. But there is so much beauty in them as well, and I am so very earnestly coveting [!] at least three of the pieces that were being highlighted in this solo show.

And you know, I at last had a chance to ask him about some of his philosophies and maybe pick his brain for some tips on techniques. But I completely and utterly wimped out. There I stood, scarlet from more than a sunburn, and babbling like a moron. Just damn. I tried to summon up some brass, but I just couldn’t do it. After seeing his works up close I felt like an utter fraud — who the hell did I think I was, to have the temerity to call myself an artist?

I swear to you, I haven’t been that goonishly nervous in talking to another artist since I met Vladan Stiha nearly twenty years ago [yeah, wimped out then, too] at La Fonda in Santa Fe — battling a wicked case of the jitters, I smiled and shook Mr. Stiha’s hand, and managed to croak out some polite noises because I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

And with the artist in Brookings it was deja vu, all – over – again.

Holy effing merde. I am so disgusted with myself over this. Another great opportunity, just pissed away. Yep, I’m a wuss,…

… so much for “Fortuna Favit Fortibus”, huh?

Below is a detail of the grisaille I’m currently working on, and I’m nearly done with it. Some of you living and/or working in the downtown Seattle area may recognize this Art Nouveau lady:

wip-greylady.jpg

Please excuse me, but I have to go in search of my spine, now.

– Ryl

* p.s. While I’ve placed live outlinks to the artist’s works in the above post, I’ve chosen to omit his name — not to slight him, but to shield him from a particular contingent performing ‘net searches using certain search engine criteria, and hopefully my effort won’t be mistaken or misinterpreted [by him, or the posse].

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