Comfortably numb

There have been a number of painting projects that created significant after-effects of hundreds of comments, social media posts and dozens of commission requests.  The first Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain and Finnigan (the dog) stand out as three that sparked a lot of interest.

However, nothing compare to the flurry of activity that followed the live painting at the Halloween Ball.

Likes on the Russell Thomas Art Facebook Page go up by drips and drabs during regular weeks, usually single digits.  After the paintings of Edward Scissorhands, Ralph Klein and the Frankenstein monster, 118 additional people have joined the page.  I'm grateful to each and every one.

I was absolutely numb on Sunday - a mix of tired, contented, and shocked.  The numbness stuck around through yesterday and is slightly hanging on this morning.  I purposely stayed out of the studio last night, rather choosing to catch up on some "arts administration" confirming and organizing requests and starting to get a clearer picture of the projects in the queue.

If you are a person who requested a painting at any point in the last year and you haven't heard from me recently, I would encourage you to reach out.  The best way for us (Heather and I) is through the Russell Thomas Art Facebook Page.  Honestly, it provides a simple place where the two of us can go for information and connect to clients.  During these crazy periods, commissions come in from all over the place and it is conceivable that some have been missed.  I discovered one of those from June yesterday after the client reached out.

This is something that I still only do in my spare time, on evenings, weekends and holidays.  It is something that I only intend to do on evenings, weekends and holidays.  The question, and in some cases the worry, about whether I would/should/could be doing this full-time comes up with increasing regularity.  Our intention (I say "our" because none of this would be possible if I didn't have the support of my wife Heather and sons Dylan and Ben) is that this is something I will do on a full-time basis when I "retire". That could change, as things are apt to do, but that is the current plan.

I love the balance of working full-time at The United Way of Fort McMurray, doing commissions and the odd contract, and painting for charity projects.  It has grown into a rather symbiotic collection of activities and passions.

As I tried to grasp what I was feeling following my biggest painting day to date, the music and lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" played in the background of my mind.  It was the best kind of natural numb (as opposed to the chemically induced kind).

The living room where all the paintings live after they are done was over full to start the week.  Thankfully, yesterday and today will see most of them passed along to their new homes.  We had four different presentations yesterday, all of which bring a smile to my face.  Here they are in order:

Bryce Kumka bought the original painting of The Carla Memory Project. He generously bought two giclees to give to the Centre of Hope and the amazing Rosie (pictured above)

Brad Lucier of HVAC Solutions bought the Frankenstein monster for $7,500 which will in turn be donated to the United Way Community Campaign.  He is the tall guy above posing with Robbie Picard (I Love Oil Sands party guru), myself, and Marty Giles (Community Campaign Chair)

I love this picture so much.  Brad Lucier from HVAC Solutions also purchased the Ralph Klein portrait.  He bid $7,000 in support of the organization behind the I Love Oil Sands movement, represented by Robbie on the right.  He then donated the painting to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association where it will be hung in their boardroom. How awesome is that?
Our good friend Jennifer Toutant was the lucky purchaser of the Edward Scissorhands portrait.  The interest in this particular painting was off the charts.  We are so pleased that it has found a happy home.  Jennifer says it's going up in her yoga room.  Love it!


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