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Passing Through

December 23, 2011

Dining Alone, 8x8, Gouache

Figurative painting is not my strong suit, by any means, and I don’t do it very often.  Maybe that’s a good reason for at least doing a little study occasionally, just for the experience and the change of pace.  I’m posting this here in the Back Roads blog because it falls into that category of “things seen in new places”.

How often does someone pass through your life whom you never meet, but come close enough to become an image in your memory bank?  Happens to me all the time.  Makes me wish I was a portrait and figure painter.  A week or so ago, Nell and I were out Christmas shopping, and stopped for dinner at a restaurant.  This gentleman came in alone and was seated a few tables away.  Now, I’m not in the habit of taking surreptitious photos of people while they’re eating, but I just couldn’t resist this one.  He just had character, with the full, neatly trimmed beard and the glasses perched on his nose.  The hat, which he never took off, simply added to the image.

I could have disturbed him, and asked for permission to take his photograph.  But when I do that, people seem to think they should pose for the picture, and one loses that natural reality that makes for a good image.  In this case, his body language bespoke a man deep in thought, and perfectly comfortable eating in public alone.  I’ve used this title before, but that was a painting of a cow, so it’s okay.

He ordered, ate his meal, and left, a ship passing in the night… or in the back dining room.

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