Public Garden, 2012

June 3, 2012

Public Garden, 2012

I thought I’d covered all the bases on the Public Garden that didn’t involve equestrian statuary, but I ran across this view and had to paint it.

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Rockport, 2012

June 3, 2012

Rockport, 2012

This is Halibut Point in Rockport. I was happy with this little study, although the photo doesn’t do it justice.

Nellie

June 3, 2012

Nellie

Nellie was sitting with her friend Bob in the same location as I painted Merlin and Slim last year. The spot was on “loan” from another panhandler whose name I didn’t catch. I paid him three dollars essentially to go away, and he seemed quite gleeful and triumphant at the coup. Nellie was badly sunburned and I gave her some sun tan lotion. She alternated between brassy, “creative” come-ons and a simple “spare change please.” She told me she felt embarrassed to be panhandling and wouldn’t request money from people with children. On the other hand, one of the most touching moments of the morning was when a passerby gave his two-year-old a dollar to put in her cup. About fifteen minutes into the painting session Nellie requested her money in advance, then sent Bob off to buy a 40, which she hid in her brassiere.

Although this is a nice spot to paint I may have to avoid it in the future. A policeman came along and made Bob and Nellie move, just as with Merlin and Slim painting session, throwing a monkeywrench in my painting effort. Live and learn.

Ken

June 3, 2012

Ken

My first panhandler painting of 2012. Ken runs, or ran, the sidewalk $2 book exchange on Mass Avenue with his wife Frenchy. He closed down the sales element of his “bookstore” last fall, turned it into a book giveaway (he claims to have 30,000 books in storage to get rid of!) and is now simply panhandling on the street in front of his old spot. His reasons for closing down the business were increased costs for buying books and competition from Kindles and the like. Frenchy was quite ill this winter, the encampment where they had been living was shut down by the state police and Ken was able to wangle a permanent room in a shelter for the two of them. He’s now trying to get on SS disability. I suspect he sees it as a matter of honor and self-respect to be “pulling a fast one” on the authorities. He is one of the hardest-working lazy men I know.

Since doing this painting I haven’t seen Ken or Frenchy around at all, and it’s been a few weeks. I hope they’re all right. Frenchy’s been sick and Ken’s apparent haleness may be illusory.

Alistair

June 3, 2012

Alistair

Alistair is Scottish. He’s been in this country for 19 years, following the Grateful Dead and other bands back and forth across the country, and his accent is almost gone. Until recently, he told me, he had long hair and a beard. I’ve indicated his tattoos just a little. Alistair divides his time between Boston and San Francisco, and seemingly has not seen much else of the country. He’s been in a few fights, as evidenced by a long scar on his cheek and his multiply-broken nose.