Inspiration! David Leffel \ Instagram

David A. Leffel self portrait close up from the exhibition
The other week I had the privilege of going to see a documentary of someone I kind of know and have met. The movie was David A Leffel An American Master.

Normally there is a lot of things I don't mind doing myself that others never tend to do; one example is going to a restaurant by myself. One thing I refuse to do is go to the movie theater by myself. When my dad used to live around the corner from a movie theater he would go by himself periodically.

 We'll I thought I would never ever do that but I did.  Except I did...not for long. As soon as I went to the theater I saw a fellow artist from the drawing group running the ticket both. I saw more familiar faces but none I really fancy sitting with. At the concession line there my friend and beautician Missy spotted and noticed me. It was funny when I was getting ready to go I thought she would of been a good person to ask to go with me. As Missy mentioned it must've been a psychic connection. It was good she saw the film and understands art, her brother is an artist and she dabbles in it herself.

One of the reasons I did not bother bringing a non-artist friend, I did not feel like explaining who these people were and the love of art. One aspect of art to me is emotional sensitivity. And then with my artist friends like any thing there is an opinion of either someone loves or hates a certain artist or type of artwork. I've met both sides of the spectrum not being shy of loving or hating Leffel's work.

I felt honored and blessed to see the documentary of people you sort of know. The movie was shot beautifully with fantastic editing, shots and like the director mentioned it has another story in it beginning middle and end.  One interesting question and answer from the Q&A section after the film was the documentary was shot portrait like a portrait painting and natural light and dark Leffel uses in his work.

David Leffel work and treatment of his paintings is how to make a painting "breathe" and painting the air around it to create life in his artwork. There were so many good points and lessons in the movie. It is difficult even with a good memory to catalog and remember them all!

Another note Leffel loves and inspired by Rembrandt van Rijn.  His self portraits and attention to subtle and dramatic light. It is interesting Leffel and his wife and artist as well Sherrie McGraw mainly paint from natural light subjects. Rembrandt is an innovator of the use of
chiaroscuro [chia-a-ro-scr-ro]. The Italian word and art term
meaning light to dark. The term does not sound dramatic but the intensity of dark to light makes a painting seem like a intensely whoa! And then Rembrandt was inspired by Caravaggio who somewhat defined the term and use of the word.

Also the topic of people you sort of know.

I Came across this couple's work as a 2008 summer Academy of Art University pre-college student. One of my four online summer classes was taking an online Fine Art Still Life Painting class and it always mentioned an artist at the end of the module. To find out that these pair of artists were located in my area. I daydreamed and wished I could meet them and confidently take my 4ft portfolio and jump a fence if I had to. Weird shy but bold teenage self. Sure enough four years later I would meet them.

Then I discovered Leffel's signed copy of  his book An Artist Teaches: Reflections on the Art of Painting at my local public library. Rented it a lot when I had a library card here and there for almost a month at a times.

I met Sherrie McGraw first. I have written about it before [here]
Portrait of  Leffel's wife Sherrie McGraw 
And then met her husband and artist David Leffel.

Honestly I don't remember the details how everything was arranged. I just remember Sherrie McGraw mentioned a few times it would be be interesting painting my portrait.

So I go over to their studio which I've seen pictures of it. She invited a few friends to paint alongside with her. One I was acquainted with as well.

It was a humbling experience. The time passed quickly being the model to be painted.

During one of the breaks McGraw gave me a tour of part of the house. Paintings adorned every wall.

Sherrie offered a selection of teas and as soon as she offered rooibos I chimed I wanted that with no hesitation.

I''l drink tea if there is no coffee available but the smell of rooibos has a special smell to my childhood. My first professional art teacher was a German lady named Ms. Urichka. Ms U taught my sister and I to mix colors from watercolor and tempera paint.

I don't remember the spelling of her name, we attended lessons from the time I was 8-11. Ms. Urichka would always have rooibos tea readily available and brewed in the lobby of her studio.  It was sweet memories in those tough transitional times in my childhood. Knowing how to mix primary and secondary colors was impressed in me in my childhood and helped me when I took art seriously again.

Rooibos is a sweet tea and has a sweet but tangy smell and taste. They say scent memory is strong. I have a bad sense of smell but when I smell it or something close to rooibos I remember Ms. Uricka's lessons and how sometimes she would bring cookies and such.

When I drank the tea I was able to wake up. Honestly I was starting to drift asleep during the paint sessions. Which I never done as a model. At first I was doing well and then I told them I didn't mind doing longer sessions. That was my mistake being over confident.

Wrapping up the tour beyond the kitchen I briefly saw David Leffel from an upstairs indoor balcony. Sherrie mentioned I was the model and remember him exclaiming Hello! Enthusiastically.

I admire when you speak to Leffel and McGraw you have their full attention their eyes light up and their enthusiasm for life and art reverberates and is infectious.  After the movie I was able to shake Leffel's hand and when Missy mentioned I have been to his house before he told me, "Come again soon." Certain events, people, and time its just precious and you feel that moment is special.
A lifetime opportunity to meet such humble famous artists. Just priceless.

Went to see the exhibit in the theater lobby again on another day to fulfill my visual fix. The exhibition was so small I was able to photograph every single piece at the show.  Usually I still ogle at everything for excessive amounts of time and only take pictures of what I like the most from an exhibition.

I found it interesting that David Leffel a master artist you can see growth and progression in the pieces he showcased in the exhibition and documentary. It is a reminder that great artists aren't just great all of a sudden one day when they roll out of bed but it takes : persistence, hard work, focus, determination, tenacity and time to be a true master of skill with your craft.

The way this painting is I could not take a decent picture!!
The closeup is not even close! Ugh there was a lot
of texture and light one can see from the cantaloupe but
the glare of the window and headlights blasted competed 
with each other and canceled each other out to white.

My favorite painting from the show. 

No shame and not shameless plug-in. I'm on instagram. At first I didn't understand what it was and thought it was just selfie central. It can be if you want but I'm a visual person and hence an artist. If  I am not drawing I am looking at stuff and visually absorbing information. I don't have much but if anyone wants to contact me I'm on there pretty much all the time! Practically everyday its a habit for the last several months.

I found a way to follow artists and look at pretty pictures without the noise of facebook.

Here are *ahem a few artists I follow on instagram.  It was so hard to pick a few. (Like 30 something I was able to narrow it down to...)


This past week I've done some stellar drawings. I'll share some work in a separate post
 later this week or weekend.

I've finally had the epiphany of which series of ideas I want to do. I've been working on this thing everyday. It really has helped me get the creative bug and spark to get out of this art rut.  I want to release some pieces by the end of the summer. It's one of those things once I release it I want to become THE person that works on this type of subject matter. No one else is doing this sort of thing I'm doing. Unfortunately I'm keeping this under wraps until I release the series. People tend to copy my ideas.  I have a mimicker of this blog. >_> Seriously.

They say flattery but I'm NOT flattered at all nor find any kind of amusement.
This has been happening since I have been a child.

As Oscar Wilde says "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

There is more to this than people often miss.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness."

Another way to mention this and in modern language as Brian Molko states, "Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but clones kind of get it wrong because we are promoting individuality and being proud of being yourself."

Thank You!! YES yes

One of my pet peeves it's like come up with you your own ideas! Sheesh

One of my favorite albums where I like practically all the songs.


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