Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Painting Lost.....Then found 22 years later

Today started off like most days, with the exception of I had planned on going to the hospital to be with my family for my Sister-in-Laws surgery. The plan was for my mother to pick me up, eat some lunch and make our way to the surgery center. I saw my Moms vehicle pull in the driveway from the window...she got out and pulled a canvas out of her car....This is not out of the ordinary, she buys me canvases and art supplies all the time (she is an artist and loves to buy art supplies). I opened the door and in her hands was this beautiful landscape painting......I knew this one!!!

The Painting of a mountain landscape with lake and trees....was painted by me in 1989....I had not seen it since 1989....22+ years this has been in a box....In storage!....under my parents stairs! When I first saw it today a rush of memory flooded back to me....I was 17 years old all over again in one quick second. I had forgot that it even existed until seeing it again. Then it all came back....

It was 1989, I was a Senior in high school, painting class with Don Durfee and my teacher. The assignment was to do a landscape mountain scene in oils on a canvas that we had to stretch. I spent every moment I could in the art room when I was in school. It was some of the best times of my life....a bounty of materials, tools, kilns, paints, really everything you could think of. Mr. Durfee was one of the most talented and cool folks around. He had this long beard...looked like he was part of a motorcycle gang...but for an young high school nerd like me....He was COOL! ya know.......... He was great, would let us kids that dug art really express ourselves and help us when we needed it. His assignments where always a challenge and lots of fun. He loved us to get our hands dirty. He was a glorious painter and in this area his work is pretty well known. During times when we all would be working on our art....he would sit in the room in front of a canvas and paint these beautiful nature and wildlife paintings. I would watch and hope that some day I could be half as good.....I do what I do now because of Mr. Durfee!  Don Durfee-Eye of the Artist (Mr. Durfee focuses on Photography now days check it out).

A Few Memories of this painting:  I remember learning to stretch the canvas. Mr. Durfee helping pull as I used the staple gun. When it was all done I recall being real proud of the fact that I had really stretched my own canvas. It also was my first time really using a palette knife to paint and not just mix paint. The only thing I do actually remember painting was the mountains and the snow on them. I would go into the art room during study hall and get in close and focus on the detail of every speck of snow..... The palette knife became my friend real fast.... I was hooked!

I do not remember the grade I got? I do not actually remember bringing it home or where it ended up soon after that?....Me being 17, I was probably more interested in skulls and fire (I was a metal\punk musician kid) than in a landscape of mountains. But 22 years later thanks to my mother it is here in front of me and I have an adult appreciation for it.....It actually makes me a bit sad....sad because this life moves so fast...if you blink and not notice it will be gone....sad because I miss that 17 year old kid....and sad because I lost so many memories and feeling of those days of youth.  The sadness was replaced with smiles and memories of the wonder I felt in those days...I wanted to be an artist my whole life and I think about that all the time.

I would also like to point out a fun little thing about this painting....the way I signed it....I used my normal signature...Lance-printed and a big loop of the J circling it.....but the funny thing was the word RATSKULL under it....When I was in school I was a RocknRoller...the kid who played electric guitar in garage punk bands...Black t-shirts with Metallica images....long hair...Gonna be a big Rock Star when I grow up....etc etc etc....you know the Art\Rock music type.....I had a "stage name" and that name was RATSKULL....I must have been real proud of it during that time...cause I signed my landscape painting with it.....Oh to be a youth again....hehehehe It makes me giggle
I was so very happy today when my Mom brought this to my home. I smile even as I write this.....I will never let it go to storage ever again...I will cherish it....I have very very little of the work I did in those years. I think it deserves a frame!

I will also note that this is one of only three landscapes I have ever painted...the others are the painting I did a month or so ago and wrote a blog about called "My Day with Vincent. The other is a painting of a deer standing at the edge of a pond...which I do not know here that painting is and have not seen it since I painted it in like 8th grade.....I hope my Mom finds that one also.....

Another quick Note....my Sister-in-Laws surgery went great and she is recovering well....

Peace and Love to you all and thank you for taking a stroll down memory lane with me...


  1. wonderful story! and how fabulous that you started out in HS with a teacher who knew how to bring out the best in his students.

    1. Thank you so much for taking some time to read my quick little story....It was very cool day...brought back lots of memories

  2. Great story & what a difference teachers can make when they are packaged with that magical quality that inspires another generation - a real vocation not just someone with a job... great story

    1. A great Teacher can change many many lives....