Saturday, January 30, 2016

He Did Not Have The Time

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The air blew out of my sails this morning. Somebody I knew, though not as well as I would have liked, is gone. Saim Caglayan posted this morning that Ken Auster is no longer with us. Click here to see his work.

About 15 years ago, I called Ken in his Southern Ca studio just to tell him how happy his paintings made me. I could not, nor did I think I would ever be able to afford one, but just seeing them made me happy.  When I told him how I had a visceral reaction to the paint quality in his work and the simple happiness of being alive in his lighting, he was absolutely tickled. The man was gracious to a fault as I interrupted him that foggy morning. I could feel the smile in his words.

Due to the fact that I was working over 50 hours a week, keeping a house going and watching over my aging mom who was living with us, taking a workshop was not going to happen. So I talked to him and bought his first DVD. It was one of the first art lessons on disk I had ever bought. I have watched that lesson over and over. I tried a month of using his limited palette, and could not figure for the life of me how that alizarin crimson got onto my skivvies! The fact that he used an ironing board and wax paper for a palette was typical of somebody who painted with passion, who could not afford being distracted by the small stuff. That small stuff just got rolled up and stashed in the bin. There’s a lesson there. I told myself I had time. After all, he was younger than me and I knew where he was.

Seeing Ken at the PACE conventions made talking to him very easy. He remembered who I was, that crazy artist lady who lived in San Diego County and loved his work, and who tried to paint. I asked him why he had not done a DVD on painting cities, streets, buildings. I had emailed him requesting one too. He replied that he had said all he had to say, and he smiled. Not true. In the past two years, Streamline released the second of his DVDs. Subject, city streets. When I saw Ken after that, I told him that I was thrilled. For someone who cannot get to a workshop for either time or money constraints, a DVD is the next best thing. I could do that, after all, I still had time to get to his studio and take a workshop. 

This morning brought home the fact that we do not have a promised tomorrow. We have today. So to my artist friends I say, take that workshop. Go the distance.

It never occurred to me that Ken did not have the time.

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