Lowell Herrero (1921-2015) RIP

Lowell Herrero of Calistoga, California, died from natural causes on November 28, 2015 at the young age of 94 after a very active and full life. He was born in

Source: Lowell Herrero : St. Helena Star

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George W. Bush, the Renaissance Man

George W. Bush, the man who told Jay Leno that he named his cat Bob, “So I can remember how to spell it when I get older,” has been very busy.

Between rounds of golf, organizing and riding in 100K mountain bike rides with America’s wounded warriors, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas, and personally refurbishing health clinics in Africa, through the Bush Center’s partnership with Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon, whose mission is to screen women, in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, for cervical and breast cancer, the 43rd President of the United States has also become an accomplished portrait painter.

President Bush charged his painting instructor, Gail Norfleet, with a task. “There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it.”

While a guest on the The Tonight Show on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, President Bush presented a portrait he had painted of Jay Leno to the late night television host.

Jay Leno portrait

Jay Leno portrait by President George W. Bush

President Bush has plans to paint portraits of 19 foreign presidents and prime ministers with whom he worked during his tenure at the White House. He has already provided the artwork for a Christmas ornament, which may be purchased through the Bush Center web site.

Bush Center Ornament

Bush Center Ornament

See also:
As Bush Settles Into Dallas, Golf Tees and Family Time Now Trump Politics [New York Times; Nov 2, 2013]

George Bush Shows Off Painting Hobby, Shares Jay Leno Portrait [US Weekly; Nov 20, 2013]

George W. Bush Presidential Center

Former First Dog Barney, RIP (2000-2013)

Barney, the Scottish Terrier that lived in the White House with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, passed away on February 1, 2013. Born on September 30, 2000, Barney died at age 12 after battling lymphoma.

Since retiring and moving back to Texas, President Bush has been painting landscapes and dog portraits. This portrait of Barney is one of the President’s paintings. It is signed “43.”

Barney Bush

Portrait of Barney
by President George W. Bush

President Bush issued the following statement:

Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away. The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.

Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter. At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.

Barney guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent. He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends. He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers. He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.

Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House. He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal.

Arthur Okamura, RIP

This morning I received an email from Stephen Beal, President of California College of the Arts, bearing sad news:

FROM PRESIDENT STEPHEN BEAL

Dear CCA Community,

I’m very sad to report the death of Professor Emeritus Arthur Okamura. He passed away on July 10 near his home in Bolinas. He was 77.

Arthur taught at CCA for 31 years. Upon his retirement in 1997 he was awarded the distinction of professor emeritus. A master teacher, he inspired generations of artists with his impassioned commitment to his work. Although “retired,” he taught a weekly art class at the New School at Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, and was working on a new series of paintings at the time of his death.

Born in Long Beach, California, Arthur and his family relocated to Chicago after World War II. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the 1950s he came back to the west, eventually settling in Bolinas in 1959. He was a prolific painter who also worked in screenprinting and drawing. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. You can read more about his remarkable life here.

A celebration of Arthur’s life is planned for later in the summer. We will apprise the community of the details once they are confirmed.

We have lost a very important member of the CCA community. In his 31 years at the college, Arthur was an influential mentor to hundreds of students and a great friend to his fellow faculty members and staff. He will truly be missed. On behalf of the college, I extend my sincere condolences to Arthur’s family.

Sincerely,
Stephen Beal
President

Arthur Okamura was my teacher for “Introduction to Screenprinting,” my first year at CCA. I was timid in my approach to this medium, and Arthur didn’t exactly take the pressure off. One day he came up behind me saying anxiously, “What the f— are you doing? What the f— are you doing?” Well, I was probably letting the ink dry on the screen, or something equally idiotic. But I learned to love the medium enough to take another screenprinting class with another wonderful teacher, Malaquias Montoya.

Arthur was the graduate advisor to a fellow student, Gayle Antokal. She is enormously talented, but had not yet hit her stride when she had a solo show of her work on campus. Arthur chastised her, saying “You are making stew when you should be making souffle!” I’m happy to say that Gayle now makes the most exquisite “souffle.” Her mentor would have been very proud.

Art Grant Hits Bottom

The British Press is calling it “cheeky” and a “bum deal.” Welsh artist Sue Williams, 53, was awarded a £20,000 ($32,760 US) grant to study cultural attitudes towards female buttocks. Mrs. Williams explained, “The project is taking on the issues around the bottom and how it is viewed in contemporary culture and viewed by the male.” Her evaluation process entails making plaster casts of women’s behinds.

The Arts Council of Wales awarded the grant, which was funded by lottery sales. Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Adrian Sanders speculated that most people would question using the lottery money for this purpose. However, the comments on The Sun’s web site ranged from wry to favorable. There were more than a couple of offers of assistance.

Congressman Comments on Ronald Reagan Statue

Congressman Wally Herger, representing the people of California’s District 2, was on hand at the unveiling of the Ronald Reagan statue in the Capitol Rotunda on June 3, 2009. Below are his written comments about the event, and a video he recorded as he stood in front of the statue:

I wanted to let you know about a recent event commemorating one of California’s greatest historical figures. Yesterday, in the Capitol Rotunda, Congress dedicated a statue honoring former President Ronald Reagan. I was fortunate to have the honor of attending the ceremony.  It was a moving ceremony and I can think of no person more worthy of this tribute than President Reagan. President Reagan’s contributions to the United States include helping to end the Cold War by bringing the Soviet Union to its knees, and sparking an unprecedented era of economic growth and job creation through his support for across-the-board tax relief on the American people.

“Former First Lady Nancy Reagan delivered remarks in remembrance of her husband.  At the unveiling, Mrs. Reagan commented that it was a “wonderful likeness” of her late husband.  Leaders of both the House of Representatives and the Senate gave speeches honoring our 40th President along with his former Chief of Staff and Treasury Secretary James Baker.  The 7-foot, bronze statue contains pieces of the Berlin Wall, in recognition of his unyielding commitment to freedom everywhere.”

See Also:
Reagan Statue in National Statuary Hall Collection [Art2u; June 3, 2009]