Jimena, the Dancer . . .

One more posting before heading off to bed:

From the Front Page of the Sonoma Index-Tribune, May 20th, 2010

Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune
Jimena Gomez, 16, of Petaluma, models for plein air painters Thomas Kitts, left, and Christopher Newhard during the “Quick Draw” fast painting session Tuesday evening at the Plaza. This is the eighth annual Plein Air Festival that supports art programs in Valley public schools. The painters will be displaying their art on the Plaza tomorrow, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I made the front page of the paper while painting in the Sonoma Plein Air quick-draw competition. (That’s me in the grey ball cap in the upper left corner of the photo.) For those who may not know what a quick-draw is, it is when all the participating plein air artists of a festival are brought together into a small area and asked to paint something from direct observation for 90 minutes while the general public mills around and watches. (And comments, and jokes, and even sometimes heckles a bit…) For some painters, quick-draw events are a nightmare. But not for me. Anyone who has done as many demos as I have, or taught as many classes as I have — who has had to talk and ‘splain things while I work — folks watching me ain’t a big deal. It’s kind of fun actually because it takes some of the mystique out of making art and I always like that.

Anyway, I digress…

As I said, I made the front page and I’m sure that helped me during the rest of the week since I was a newbie to this year’s Sonoma Paint out. It raised people’s awareness of me. In fact, people brought me the front page of their newspaper several times by the end of the week.

Christopher Newhard, the other artist in the top photo, had hired a young latino girl to pose in the square wearing a traditional Mexican dancing dress and I was way out on the other corner walking back to my car to get something I’d forgotten when I saw her setting up. Now, it’s one thing to paint the figure indoors under electrical light, or natural light pouring in through a window, but it is another thing altogether to have the chance to paint the figure outdoors under a wide soft wash of the sun. So I lost any desire to do an obligatory painting of the Sebastiani Theatre across the square and immediately dragged my gear over to the model. What a fun painting. 90 minute of pure joy. This girl was 16 and steady like a rock. She really held that pose. (What is it about dancers? I’ve had the opportunity to paint a number of Portland’s finest professional ballerinas as of late and they’ve all been fantastic at holding a pose.)

When it was all said and done here was the result:


“Jimena, the Young Mexican Dancer”
9 x 12″ | oil on canvas panel

At quick-draws, paintings are either sold right off the easel wet, or are taken to a place nearby where they are hung for later viewing. Mine made it into a small gallery/wine shop across the way that night and I was informed it sold later in the week. Turned out it hadn’t, but that was okay. Someone I knew who wanted it badly the night it was painted came back on Saturday and was thrilled to find it was available.

Here is some of the milling about after the bell was rung and everyone’s brushes were put down:

And finally, here is the lovely young Jimena herself, next to my painting of a 16 year old girl who goes to public schools all over Sonoma County to perform traditional dances for even younger Mexican-American children. So they might experience something authentic from their own culture. Jimena was a bright and poised young woman who radiated a sweet latino beauty and her extended family showed up on Saturday at my booth to both see the painting and have their pictures taken with it.
Jimena made my week and I wasn’t more than two days into it. I hope to see her again next year.
Gracias, Senorita! Keep dancing your culture . . .
Thomas
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One Response to Jimena, the Dancer . . .

  1. what a good "quick draw"! It is lively and one can certainly sense her pride in your painting–it had to be one o the best there. Congratulations

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