Painting the Moose
It is late in the evening, the same day that I did a live painting of Mark Messier. I should be sleeping, as I have felt a little numb since getting home. However, my body doesn't want to shut itself down quite yet.
Live painting days are rather intense. They start bright and early with last minute packing and in this case, a drive into the city. The Gordie Howe C.A.R.E.S. Pro-Am Luncheon was being held at the Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary. I had been at the same facility just a few weeks ago when I attended a session with astronaut Roberta Bondar. In other words, I didn't have to stress out about where I was going or where I was going to park. Those two details can easily cause me stress.
When doing these high pressure live painting events that culminate in the auctioning off of my work, I have to time things just right. I spend the first two hours in the space doing all the "boring" stuff. In the case of this painting it meant laying down several coats on the background and on the jersey. I also did an undercoat in the area of the canvas occupied by the Stanley Cup.
By the time the 800 guests entered the ballroom, I was doing the finishing touches on the New York Rangers jersey and the Stanley Cup Champion hat. All the facial details came together during lunch and the opening speeches. I left the work on the Stanley Cup and other finishing touches for the hot stove conversation with Mark Messier and Glen Healy.
I put the brushes down a minute or two before they wrapped up the conversation and the auctioneer from Ritchie Brothers came on the stage.
These experiences are always a little blurry in my memory. I get in the zone and focus all of my efforts in bringing the painting as close to completion as possible. It's always a special moment when the subject comes up to add their signature. It's also fulfilling when the bids close and thousands of dollars are being offered for something I spent the last three or four hours creating. That the funds support great charities makes it extra sweet.