4 Blue Ribbons!
Well, it’s fair season again, and I gathered up some of my best work from this past year and entered my first fair of 2017, this past weekend; the Goshen Fair in Goshen, Connecticut. Pictured here are my four entries. They all received blue ribbons, but I was quite surprised to see “The Best of Show” Rosette on the “Jack Polak” pen and ink portrait. If anything, I would have expected it on “The Paris Street Pilot”; a much more detailed portrait than the former. In fact, I almost didn’t enter the Polak portrait!
There is an interesting story behind Jack Polak. He and his estranged wife were both imprisoned in a Nazi death camp during WWII, and while there, Jack befriended a young woman named Ina Soep, and fell in love with her. They maintained contact through little notes, hastily scribbled on slips of paper. Oddly enough, Jack’s wife was completely aware of the affair, and condoned it. Jack and his wife divorced after the war and he and Ina were finally married and remained together thereafter. They even made a movie about their story called, “Steal a Pencil for Me”.
“The Paris Street Pilot” was done in graphite, and a fun portrait to do. He has such an interesting face that shows so much character. At first glance, he appears to be an elderly aviator, but upon closer examination, you can see that he’s not a pilot at all; but rather a “street pilot”, or more appropriately, a hippy biker. I did another version of him a few years ago; also in graphite.
Next, is another one done in Graphite. I felt moved to do this sketch of the “Migrant Mother” from the famous depression era photo by Dorothea Lange. The woman’s name was Florence Owens Thompson. When the photo was taken, she explained that she had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. They had been living on frozen vegetables found in the fields, and birds that the children had killed. This photo among others, helped to bring the plight of the migrant farm workers during the Great Depression to the attention of the United States Government.
“Braveheart” was a little different. This one was a pyrography piece, (wood burning). I burned the image onto thin plywood, and even the mat was made of wood. An ornate frame completes the package. This one took me about two months to complete, as pyrography take much longer than pencils or painting.
Braveheart depicts William Wallace, national hero of Scotland, made famous, recently in a film by the same name, starring Mel Gibson.
Next weekend is The Bethlehem Fair in Bethlehem, Connecticut. They only permit 3 entries per exhibitor, so one of these will need to be omitted. I think I’ll leave “Jack” home, this time. He’s had his 15 minutes of fame. Let’s see how the others do this time. Stay tuned next week to see how we do in Bethlehem.