Late in 2009 I was directed to Kari because she had modeling nude on her bucket list.  I rallied the troupes and we set a date for a figure drawing session.  Although she had never sat for artists before she was a complete natural.  When I expressed the desire to have the luxury of extended time to paint her (not just sketch her) she permitted me to photograph her.  The result was ...

 ANGLE MESSENGER   2010 oil on acrylic   12" x 16"   Collection of Kari Lelek

The idea I had incubated for this painting took a twist when on a particular day Kari was compelled to bring me an eagle's feather (and a robin's nest).  She had no way of knowing that the date chosen was the day before my Father's birthday.  Dad had an obsessive attraction to birds.  They showed up in all of his art.  To him they symbolized freedom.  With dementia, he spent his last 6.5 years in the Veteran's Wing at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, where he died, at age 88 (November 1st, 2005).  Now, when I see a bird circling overhead, I imagine it's him looking out for me.  Dad's clay bird vase and the eagle feather needed to be in the painting.  Kari continued posing for us and became not only my Muse but a personal friend.  At  Christmastime 2010, I photographed her gazing at a glass blown pear.  The image begged to be painted ...

KARI   2011 oil   14" x 11"  Collection of Kari Lelek

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