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The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The artist downstairs

You may recall that I live in a stairwell. Stairwells are neat in a military community. People are constantly moving in and out and they are always interesting. We have a couple on the bottom floor that until recently, I only knew in passing. She is in the Army and he stays home (no kids). She mentioned to me once, when I chatted with her in the hallway that her husband was an artist. He used to sculpt, but now just paints when the mood strikes. I found it interesting, and filed it away in my "obscure things I know about my neighbors" file. It's right next to my "Things I'm sure I'll never need to remember, but always do and can't really recall them until it's too late" file, which keeps mucking things up in my head. Stupid memory. Sorry, back to my story. Last week we got snow. A lot of snow. The following day I saw my neighbor, Carter (I'm using his name with permission), out on the playground (kids were all in school) shoveling up the snow, packing it into a large bucket and hauling it over near the side of the building, just out of my line of sight. He did this over and over. I'll admit, I was curious. It was normal to shovel the sidewalk, but not the playground. What was he doing? Also, it was FREEZING out there and he had on no gloves. I watched him for a while and decided I had to know. I looked at the clock and figured the laundry I'd put in the wash should be ready for the dryer (our laundry is in the basement, 4 floors down) and this would give me the perfect excuse to see what he was up to. It was all very Gladys Kravitz. Man, I loved that show. When I got down to the ground level, I poked my head out the front door and saw that he had been stacking the snow. Curiouser and curiouser! I waved to him and asked what he was doing. He was bored and decided to make a snow sculpture. Oooookaaaaaay. I asked what he was going to sculpt and he showed me a small print off of a portrait of Elizabeth I. I tried to find this portrait to show you here, but came up with nothing.

It took him several hours, but look at this:






Can you believe it? I could not! It was amazing! And HUGE! The detail was stunning. Flashes from cameras were going off left and right as people from all over the quad came to see the finished product. Another neighbor and I were talking to Carter in the hall about art and whatnot and he said that he wasn't really a painter, but had done a few paitings. We asked if we could see any (cause, after seeing his sculpture, we HAD to see his painting. This is what the "not really a painter" showed us:


I KNOW! He said this was only the 7th or 8th portrait he's ever done. A-ma-zing. Isn't it cool when you learn something like this about a person you see every day? His name is Carter Hall, BTW, and no he doesn't have a website. WHY? I want to know. He does portraits from photos on commission. I'm thinking of having him paint one of Indy. If I do, I'll be sure to let you all see it.

7 comments:

Nikki said...

WOW! those are amazing for a 'non-painter' huh?

monica said...

Wow! I'm impressed!!

Ma'dame French said...

Isn't this amazing~~~because he was bored huh? Very cool! French;)

Happy Momma said...

Holy Cow! I hate snow, but if I had a neighbor who could make that out of snow, I could possibly be convinced to at least "live with it!" And painting - - wow! That is talent! Get the picture done - - when else are you going to have a neighbor like that who is just bored and uses their talent and their boredom to make beautiful things?

Shelia said...

Wow, just amazing!! I love love love this portrait and wish I could get him to do my girls for me!

Joanna said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Astonished, I am completely word free...That is great. Out of snow?! And the painting...Wow...And why doesn't he have a web site?! I'd like to know as well.

Kim said...

Have you gotten your painting yet??? I mailed that thing over 2 weeks ago?! I was expecting slow - but I really thought you would have it by now.

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