This morning I called my father, former Newsweek Bureau Chief in Atlanta in the 1960s-1980s. I tried to interview him about his memories of Julian Bond. To my surprise, I only got through the first question and then he was off and running. He was improvising and free associating non-stop, like Coleman Hawkins on a long sax jam or Jack Kerouak on a beat roll with a series of praise and superlatives. It went something like this…
WALTER: So Daddy, did you ever know Bond as a friend, outside the media? What was he really like…
MY FATHER: No, no, nothing like that! He was in the thick of things and I was just a reporter. He was very smooth, elegant, well dressed but not flashy. Ah… he was educated, literate, he knew the world. He was sexy but not unstirred by the possibilities .
He was warm and smart. He had a laugh and was easy to deal with. Popular across the board. He was proud of his attire. He was smooth, on top of things Poised. Fun to be around. An important figure!
He was a singularly unique leader. He moved easily in any crowd, roughnecks, clan types.
MY FATHER: Civilized! Yeah! He was a cool cat. You couldn’t help but like him. No matter what the fight was, he was there. He wasn’t a sissy. He was a cool cat!
I made this sketch today in about 3 hours. It is a 11″x14″ watercolor on board, unaltered by photoshop. The left image is based on a 1966 AP photo of Bond in NYC before a speech. The image on the right is based on a NYT photo by Stephen Crowly of Bond at a 2006 NAACP convention
Just finished this quick sketch of Julian Bond based on a 1960s photo. Coming tomorrow, a live interview with my father, Newsweek reporter who knew Bond since the 1960s civil rights era. Don’t miss it!
Below is a vintage 1960s poster of my dad with Newsweek (the one on the left)
Just finished this addition to one of the 5 portraits commissioned earlier this year. It is based on a 1930s photo of the Atlanta patriarch of the Winship family, “Papa Joe” with two of his four daughters, Lil and Lane.
H.L Menken and “The Little Rascals” theme kept popping up in my head as I painted the clothing and hair styles of that era. Was it “Darla” or “Mary” who had that bob cut in the early Hal Roach comedies with Petey , Stymy, and Weezer?
Based on turnout and art purchases, last weekend was my best Tate show ever! Thank you to all who showed up and bought art. Seven years ago, when I started this journey of as an independent artist, my colleague and master oil painter Whit Wright told me that if one painting sells at an opening, the show is a success.
For those who missed a chance to buy their favorite Walter Cumming pastel, go to http://www.waltercumming.com and click on “current exhibit” to see what’s still available. Here are two new pastels I just finished for my next show.
For years, I’ve wanted to paint this scene of Clear Creek under the gym but was too intimidated by the complexity of reflective light on moving water in shadows under a man made structure. Well… I screwed my courage to the sticking place and tackled it yesterday, finishing it today. It will be in the Sunday show at the Cumming/Preston house, 12:00-3:00. Check it out!
I just finished this 16″x20″ pastel of an historic dam built in 1929. I wasn’t around but in 1929 this scene wasn’t much different. It will be included in the show this Sunday at the Cumming/Preston house 12:00-3:00. Stop by if you’re on the mountain.
Also, a correction on last week’s post: 300 million years ago those mountains in my painting (the Oglethorpe massif) was higher than Mt. Everest, over 8 kilometers high (according to one geological theory). So current elevation is obviously substantially lower.
This past Wednesday evening, a summer storm had cleared and I was driving down the mountain when I saw this scene. I’ve observed this view thousands of times but this one touched a nerve. Except for the kudzu, this scene existed for …what …several milion years? Certainly since before the Cherokee, Europeans, Scotch Irish settlers or Atlanta developers.
This pastel (11″x14″ ) will be included in the encore show at the Cumming/Preston house next Sunday noon-3:00.