Yesterday, at the California Art Institute, we were treated to a painting demonstration by portrait artist Aapo Pukk (www.aapopukk.com). It was arranged by Johanna Spinks, the California Co-State Ambassador of the Portrait Society of America. Johanna is also a teacher at the Institute and a great portrait artist (www.JohannaSpinks.com).
First, let me say that with a name like Aapo Pukk, I’m already halfway through the door even if I never saw a stroke of his. I wish I had been Estonian just to have a name that fun. Turned out, he was every bit as fun as his name sounds. Here’s a little secret about me. Normally, in demonstrations, after about an hour, I feel like a twig in a hurricane. I don’t care how great the artist is, I am bored to tears and Jonesin ‘ to bolt. But with Aapo, I was glued to my seat. That guy has more flourish and charm than Bill trying to talk a lady out of her Jordan Almonds. There was also a very good looking photographer there taking a million pictures, and between the two of them, I wasn’t leaving early.
I loved Aapo’s comment in the very beginning of the demo when he was faced with a blank canvas. He turned around to the audience and told us that this was his favorite part of the painting because he was “still winner”. He said his three best friends as an artist were the mirror, time, and distance–all of these being aids in helping him see the painting evolve. He certainly used the mirror trick a lot, and paced so much that I was exhausted by the end of it. The photographer (looked to be Italian descent) got it all on film or digit, whichever.
In the end, Aapo got a lovely loose suggestion of the model as you see in the above picture. Given more time, perhaps he would have reined it in but it was certainly painting gymnastics at its finest to get that much paint to that large a canvas, that fast, and it was fun to watch. The next demonstration will be by artist Adrian Gottlieb on February 24th. You can see his work on his site at www.adriangottlieb.com.
Our thanks to Johanna for arranging an inspirational afternoon. Did I mention the photographer? Nice equipment.