Wednesday, May 25, 2016

En Plein Air: New Yorker's Drive (Oil, 12 x 9)

I didn't go very far this morning, just walking two blocks down Grenfell St.. I was impressed by the limited space and the narrow drives of those old houses on roadside and decided to make it as my today's subject. I chose one which was not only narrow, but also kind of hilly. Standing across from the street I realized that I needed a little more distance from the object. I saw a guy sitting in the porch talking to someone like a lawn serviceman. Over I went and asked for permission to set up on his drive. The guy, whose name was Joe, was very nice and eventually I set my easel almost on his porch steps.

After I was done with the painting, Joe offered iced water to me. We had a chat and it turned out that Joe was a college professor in architectural engineering. I realized that we had a lot in common. Experiences like that often encourages me not to forget the good side of human nature. The reason I say that is because of another experience not long ago with a total stranger.

If you scroll my blog down to the post on April 17, 2016, you'll see the following painting posted with the title Bird Watcher Larry.

His full name is Larry Weidel. He is the author of Serial Winner, a book on business sale techniques, and amateur photographer. After I completed the painting, Larry offered to buy it. However, he told me he didn't have cash with him. He asked whether I took credit card. I told him that I didn't. I gave him the painting after I took a picture with my cell and asked if he could send me a check. He said yes and quickly added, "I am an honest man. I'll put in mail right away." So, I gave him my address. Unfortunately, to this day, I haven't received his check yet. I guess he IS a serial winner in business. 

What makes me sad about that experience is not the check but it has negatively reinforced what James Madison said about human nature. I was shocked at his assertion about human depravity and wickedness when I first read something he wrote. He said that humans are mired by passions, self-interest, and habits of vice. 

I guess I need to caution myself to have a balanced view on human nature.

The following is an addition on 5/29/2016

I called his office a couple of week ago, but he has never responded till after I wrote the above post. I finally heard from him today in an E-mail. It reads as follows:


  1. Hello Weimin, I am reading this post. I have friends who admire your work and rightly so. It is fine work. However, in this instance, I have to pitch in here and say that you truly are mistaken about the true identity of Larry Weidel, author of Serial Winner. Larry is a close friend of mine and he and I meet on a regular basis to work on photography. The man you have in your painting is not Larry Weidel. I can truthfully say that he has never traveled to that area west of lake Okeechobee. He definitely does not own a white sedan. He does have photo equipment, but not Canon equipment, which is identifyable in you painting. He does not have white hair, nor does he have a beard.

  2. Further, If you HAD met Larry and he admired your work he would have bought it and paid you cash on the spot. He has integrity and is among the most generous people I have ever met. I just want to make the record straight. Best of luck in your painting..