We bebopped over to Biloxi Wednesday evening for dinner with our oldest son Brad. It's nice to have him close enough we can do that easily as Biloxi is a hair less than two hours down the Interstate from us. And we're lobbying for Newk's to expand to Pensacola so he'll be even closer. Sooner rather than later would be our preference, but until that happens, I'm happy to spend a little time on the road for my pimento cheese fix.
There was an extra benefit to this trip above and beyond a tasty dinner and time with Brad. We got to see his paintings.
Art was one of Brad's interests when he was in high school and he was pretty good at it, having some pieces selected for shows and competitions. And while he didn't study art in college, he kept his skills from getting rusty by designing T-shirts for a couple of the jobs he held during that time. After college...well, that's another story. You know how it goes in the real world; there's often no time for hobbies when you have a job and a family, especially when that job is in the restaurant industry.
I'm happy to say that his life is a little more settled now and he's picked up the paints again. He's been texting me photos of his work but I was anxious to see it in person. It didn't disappoint.
This painting is probably most meaningful to those who've traveled to Pensacola Beach and seen the huge sign pointing the way. If I'd had my real camera instead of my cellphone the vivid colors he used would show up better. Brad has always had a love affair with the beach so it doesn't surprise me that he'd want to paint the sign.
And he's a huge fan of New Orleans and the culture that goes with it so this parade of jazz musicians is a natural too. I loved it! There's so many little details in each one of the figures that just don't show up in a photo. And it's matted and under glass which makes getting a clear image tricky too.
The latest...and maybe the most impressive...was this one:
Or is it two? It's one image spread over two 30"x40" canvases so it makes a big statement but that's OK; it's cool enough to be big. Just like the beach and New Orleans say something about Brad, this painting of The Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroid and John Belushi, represents Brad's love of comedy. He did a little stand-up himself back in the day. I confess, I couldn't stop looking at this one. The way the background fades from one shade to another, the expression in the faces, how it's one picture in two pieces.
Brad didn't get this talent from me; I paint mailboxes, not portraits. My mother, however, was a talented artist and even taught art classes in her home. She's got to be smiling down from heaven that Brad has picked up his paintbrushes again.
I'm a firm believer that everyone needs a creative outlet of some type. And I use the term creative loosely. It doesn't have to be art-based; planting a pretty flower garden requires creativity just as much as writing, drawing or sewing. You don't have to be great at it either. The idea isn't to turn out a masterpiece; it's to express yourself, even if that expression is one of frustration at times when the idea in your head doesn't translate to the project at hand. It's a mood-lifter and you always learn something in the process.
It's fun to see Brad painting again. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.