This painting marked one of many affirming moments in my life as an artist.
The first 'live' affirmation (not seen). Circa 1997-2000.
The first time I painted 'live' at a pageant in college, was at the Black and Gold Ball at UGA. I had the rhythmic tunes of Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye playing. Gaye's recording had a perfect and subtly palatable bass reverberating over the theater. I'm 19 years old or so, vibrant, on stage armed with a charcoal-pencil in hand, airbrush, compressor, extension cord, and four sheets of 18-by-24-inch paper taped together at the corners. All of it was tenuously leaning against a mason board on the back of two chairs. Right there, standing on stage, sketching away and painting with air. These memories boomeranged nine years later into my mind, spawning an unpredictable yet fun venture with "NOW Painting" – the name I coined for painting live at events. The roar from the cheering crowd affectionately known as my peers was sufficient. Even though my favorite song at the time from Marvin Gaye was 3 minutes long and I had to ask the guy with the CD player and microphone to rewind it a couple of times. Each time I turned to the audience armed with an explanation yelling, "THIS IS THE REMIX!" A remix indeed. The results –– A caramel complected afroed male and female figure outlined, in front of each other, arms extended, hands on each other's shoulder.
2013 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Fundraiser (Above) - Confirmation. Circa 2013.
Two years after meeting my agent and 75 canvases stretched of Now Paintings later, I was booked to paint at the 2013 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Annual event. Two paintings, one in the foyer (portrait of a seated model in red and blue - see "paintings") and one during the main event. My first time doing it in this way, so needless to say, I was a bit nervous. One painting alone is enough. Nevertheless, I always strive to do my best work, despite time restraints and inquiring people moving frenetically. Inherent to NOW PAINTING – this is my subject-matter, my still-in-motion-life.
Finally, when it was time for me to see what I had made, I went to the back of the room for a drink, and to view the work. A regal man approached me near the bar. He introduced himself, shook my hand, and spoke clearly, "Do you like Woodford Reserve? - I am bidding $10,000 for your painting, can you paint my family somewhere in it?"