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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Finishing Touches: July 9, 2011

Everything I do in the beginning stages of a painting is setting the stage for the highlights, the caligraphy, the "Icing on the cake". I work to suggest my subject with an economy of brushwork: "One brush stroke instead of 50", "Indicate, not Explainate!"

 After finishing the  painting on location I climbed the nearby hill. I had an eagle's view of the valley below. A warm breeze blew  upward,  and carried with it the sounds of laughing children...but there was nobody around for miles.  Kim told me later on that Talia would often come up to this area to play with her friends.  I view this sacred spot as a portal to another dimension.   Once again on my way down the hill carrying my gear. I saw Talia and Michael arm in arm up above their grave. They both had HUGE smiles and were waving to me. I caught my breath,  acknowledged them and gave thanks. Talia ran to the edge of the knoll  and began to beckon me to come back. However I got the sense that they would have wanted me to stay... and, maybe cross over? I guess I could have climbed back up and sat down with her and Michael and had a conversation... but in my reality I have much more work to do while here on the Earth.  .

Friday, July 8, 2011

Creating Home; Talia's View July 8, 2011

My goal: to capture the space;  light, and sense of space.

I wanted to immortalize this final resting place of Talia and Michael Klein, and I want to help Kim, and all who love them,  to have opportunity to feel at home when they gaze on this painting.

At the end of the first day of painting, after I laid in the masses of color, I wrapped up my gear and started the short hike down the hill. I looked upward to the grave site and saw Michael and Talia standing together; smiling and waving to me!

I stopped in my tracks, did a 2nd take at the apparitions, then responded with a 'Ah...hello', and 'thank you'.  They didn't speak a word. They didn't have to.

I've never seen as clear a physical apparition of a spirit(s) before.  As I descended down the hill again I looked up to see Talia smiling and waving to me. She had run to the edge of the knoll and playfully gave me a huge smile and wave.  I said, "good-by, I'll  be back.

I thought to myself, how cool was that?"  Then I thought...nobody is going to believe me when I tell them about what I just witnessed.

But then again,  I'm sure Kim will...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Talia's View: the Beginning July 7, 2011

Arriving on the spot,  and thanking  spirit, I set up over Talia and Michael's and  grave.

I begin to line in the painting. Staying open, and present, I sketch:  stealing from nature, reconfigure and simplify the elements before me,  and  line-in the contours.

I paint in anticipation of the low light arriving in a couple of hours at sunset.

I want the view to the Pacific Ocean (that body of water which has no memory) to be the ultimate focal point.

I quiet myself and begin to sketch.
I listen to the silence.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quantum of Solace. July 6, 2011

Place of Peace:  I can't begin to imagine the depths of sorrow a parent must feel at the loss of their only child. Kim Klein took me to the land once played on and treasured by Talia. She visits the place whenever she comes to Santa Barbara; to sit, reflect and,  "connect." 

As an artist, my challenge is to get to the configuration of my subject; to tune in,  tap in, and turn on, so I can empathize with my patron; immortalize this subject on canvas,  and capture the feeling in paint.   I'm faced with a wide vista of possibilities as far as the subject to paint, but it's undeniable that this sacred spot holds memories of a time gone by.  One can't help but feel the nostalgia permeating the air. But because it's present time,  I shall create the word:   Nowstalgic!

I'm feel like I'm being asked to become a psychic medium, or a Trance Channel...

I ask myself, "how can I best be of  service here? 

I must show  compassion, with a  deep sense of detachment.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Spirit Song of Talia Klein July 5, 2011

Ballad of a Delightful Spirit.

We never know the impact one solitary life will leave on this world.

In my experience I've seen graveyards full of headstones stacked one on top of another; some ornate and recognizable, some anonymous, with names completely eroded. Gone, are they that lye beneath, who've passed this way, and vanished; taking along with them their stories. I can only imagine what their lives were about.

On occasion I am graced with the opportunity to atone with the life of someone who has passed over into spirit. I am commissioned to create a painting, (usually, a portrait of the person), in order to help bring their story to light, or at least keep it alive for their loved ones to enjoy and remember. This humbles me, and it takes me to depths I've never been before.

Personally, I've developed the philosophy that some of us are on long assignments, and some of us are on short assignments. But whatever, my philosophy makes little or no difference in the lives of those grieving for the loss of a child. I can't even begin to (nor would I want) to imagine the depth of solace a parent experiences when fate takes their child away from them, unexpectedly.

Talia Klein was a bright 13 years of age when her light went out, on December 23, 2007. She was a passenger in a small private plane carrying her father, (author Kim Klein's ex-husband), along with her best friend and classmate. Bad weather ensued, wrong decisions were made, and the plane crashed into the side of a volcano in the country of Panama. All on board, including the pilot, were lost except Talia's best friend.

The event made international headline news; Kim's ex-husband was Michael Klein, internationally known hedge-fund manager, whose wealth included islands off the coast of Panama, which included a fabulous resort on one of them, where he often took his daughter and friends on trips. Talia was their only child.

Details surrounding the crash were sketchy and somewhat hypothetical. It took rescuers three days to navigate the dense jungles of Panama and find the crash site. When they reached the site, the miracle Kim had hoped for had vanished. Talia's best friend lived to tell the story as best she could remember.

In January 2011, Kim asked me if I would consider doing a landscape painting for her, from up on some property once owned by Michael, where they buried the ashes of Michael and Talia. She invited me up to see their final resting place.

She took me to an incredible valley up behind Santa Barbara. It looked like Shangri-la. Climbing up on a high grassy knol I took in the view from this sacred spot. It overlooked the Jesusita trail. There is a bench to sit on and contemplate in the silence.

It was here, after seeing this view, I agreed to create a special painting for Kim; a landscape vista that would be painted at sunset, while standing right over the burial site of Talia and Michael. I would tune in to their spirits, listen to their song and create this painting for Kim to keep with her wherever she lives, for the rest of her days.

Photo: Talia Klein, 13

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Santa Barbara Celebrates the 4th July 4, 2011

Fireworks on the beach near Santa Barbara,

What a great country we live in!

7x5 oil/board

Collection of the artist

Watercolor Demonstration #5: July 3, 2011

There is a classic vista of the view from Santa Barbara toward Carpinteria. It is a view from Upper Parma Park.

This is an imagination painting on which I demonstrated the under painting washes of Ultramarine Blue from the top, gradating down and Alizarine Crimson wash gradating from the bottom up.  I saved the white of the moon and the lights in the distance representing Carpinteria.

The demo was for, believe it or not, my oil painting class.
The lesson was to teach the principles about glazing. In this case two colors combined on a white surface to create violet hues.

Working with transparent oils one can do the same or similar things with the same or similar results.

Moonrise from Parma Park
10x7 Watercolor June 2011
Collection of the Artist