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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Evolution of the Painting

Above, Asya and Armand with the unveiled painting at the Odyssey Restaurant. Photo by Lori Thornhill.

Back in late-June/early-July, I commissioned Asya to do a portrait of me after seeing her work. I've been wanting to have a painting done for quite a while, not out of vanity, but out of curiosity. I wanted to see how an artist would interpret me in a painting.

Above, one of the photos of Kinkaku-ji used for the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Above, detail of Kinkaku-ji in the painting's background.

Above, from the photo shoot.
We met up in Little Osaka (in the West Los Angeles area) to do a photo shoot of me for the painting.

Asya took many photographs. We went to dinner at a revolving sushi restaurant and she "weeded down" the photographs to about six of them.

Before she got down to work, we disussed the background and I suggested a Japanese background. So, I sent her several photos that I took in Japan and we decided to use Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji "Golden Pavilion" as a background image.

I told Asya at the start to "have fun with it" and go with what she felt comfortable in doing. She went with a 19th Century French impressionist style. No deadlines or any other kind of pressure were put on her as she proceeded to paint. She used her apartment building's 3rd floor meeting room as a studio. Many of her neighbors came in to admire the painting as it progressed.

Above one of the rough sketches.

When she finished, I met up with her at a sushi restaurant near Pico Blvd. and Robertson Blvd. She brought the finished painting.

Above, my first look
at the painting.
She then unwrapped it and presented it to me. I liked it immediately!

After about a week, in order to let the oils dry thoroughly, we went to U-Frame-It in Tarzana to select a suitable frame for the painting. We spent about 2 1/2 hours looking over many frame styles. We tried frame styles of all kinds. Some would work with one section of the painting, but not in others. We had to find one that would work with it all around.

Around that time, I got the idea to throw a party to unveil it before friends, family and art gallery people (so Asya can network and get exposure) at the Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills. I wanted to make the party a light and fun event. I decided to get a package which included wine and hors d' oeuvres. I've always liked the Odyssey, which is perched on a hill overlooking the San Fernando Valley. I used to attend the annual San Fernando Valley Claim Adjusters Association Christmas parties there.

Above, at the frame shop.
Last Sunday, the unveiling party took place and those who attended had a great time. The portrait was very well-received and Asya got a lot of congratulations. She brought along three other paintings that she did with a cigar theme. (Those are available for sale, by the way.)

It had been a fun and interesting experience. I think everyone should have a portrait painted. It felt almost like being in a time period before photography had yet been invented.

She expressed an interest in painting a portrait of my daughter Amber. We'll have to look into that.

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