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J R's Art Collection

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Richard Ray - Sad J R  Richard Ray - Happy J R

Richard Ray - Sad J R and Happy J R
oil on canvas - 16 x 20 inches each

These two paintings were painted about two years apart. The long-faced image was taken from a photograph that Richard took surreptitiously (I saw him do it; I didn't know why; and I was too miserable to ask) at his and Marty's house when I was visiting friends after a particularly traumatic break-up.

I don't like looking at that image. Never have. I see me in it, and I know those clothes, that nose, the eyes and brows and mouth and even the fleshy chin. I know the expression and know, too, that if I get caught up into that too-true image of me, I'll remember too much more about where and who I was that miserable day.

Richard painted it later, and my dear friend Ken Shaddock bought it and told me that when I was ready for it, he would give it to me. It was nearly two years before I emailed him that I was ready.

By that time, Richard had painted the piece on the right.

Both works involve realistic images of me set against background imagery that was not there. Ken says he sees a lot of symbology in the background images Richard chose for the Sad J R. He finds meaning in the smoke, the mountains, the buildings and the shapes of everything. I still don't like looking at it, so I wouldn't know.

Maybe, when I'm ready for it, Ken will explain it all to me.

The symbols on my T-shirt in the Happy J R are close to real. They're not lined up like they are in the painting, but there are star-like and spiral shapes on that gray shirt I always think of as magic. I got it in Santa Fe. Richard took the photograph that painting is based on when I was with Anna at White Rock Lake, early in our togetherness.

When he and Marty nearly drove past us near sunset, we were just resting, being happy and together after walking along Lawther. We often walk at the lake and photograph birds there. They stopped, and we all talked, and Richard snapped another picture.

The Happy background is an extrapolation of the shapes in the T-shirt and have much to do with the resplendent joy emanating from my face, and from being with Anna.

Together, the pieces form an amazing pair. I've had them hung apart for some time, but after photographing them for this story, I put them together again. Quite a contrast.
 

Story and photograph by J R Compton.
Copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.
No Reproduction in any medium without specific
written permission. E-mail J R.

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