Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stoddartsville Sketch


We're staying for a couple of days in Stoddartsville, Pennsylvania. Our little cabin is right next to the Lehigh River, where we've been painting and rafting every day. Yesterday we met 91-year-old John Butler, who presides over a whole settlement of historic buildings.


On his front porch during a summer shower he told of his 25 years in the Navy and his hunting adventures in Alaska.

One of his fondest memories was driving a dogsled down the frozen Matanuska river by the light of the moon.

10 comments:

Shawn said...

Great likeness Mr. Gurney! Very well done.

Christian Supiot said...

The very best portraits catch the people's soul... I really think you can.

Tyler said...

I wonder how long it takes you to do a sketch like this. I agree with Christian that you have captured something special, perhaps the "John-Butlerness." While I think proportion and shading can be taught, appeal is something that is much more intangible. Have any words of wisdom on that aspect of good art?

Steve said...

Just echoing here; wonderful likeness with a lot of soul. Enjoy the river!

James Gurney said...

This one took about half an hour. The real challenge was that there were four wet dogs rubbing their faces in our laps and shaking (they had been swimming in the river). Because of the barking, we couldn't hear John's soft voice. Because of all that I had to rush it a bit.

jeff jordan said...

No excuses, Jim--it's a great drawing!

Jen said...

Wow, you really captured him! I hope that you publish a sketchbook one of these days.

BarbC said...

Excellent sketch!

James, I ran across your blog while Googling this evening. Thought I'd inform you that John Butler passed away on Saturday 8/14/10.

James Gurney said...

Thanks for letting me know, Barb. It was a privilege to have met him.

BarbC said...

You're welcome. His obituary is a very nice testament to him!
http://www.legacy.com/PoconoRecord/DeathNotices.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=144755408