With : A Hardon MacKay Press Attache to the Court Painter
Images taken during recent contract negotiations
The Court Painter’s successful artistic career is not close to being over. His last, great portraits of Wildrose MP Derek Fildebrant were, true to form, exactly what we would have expected from the Great Dominion’s preeminent portraitist of the political crass.
Court Painter speaks about his successes, and not his failures. He lovingly talks about his celebrity, but shows little emotion with a drink in his hand. He doesn’t get into the past, but speaks about the positive future for his studio and the Canadian political portrait movement.
To anyone who knows him, this isn’t a big surprise.
Court Painter has always been a professional, and not a populist painter. He has a set structure for palette, paint handling ,lighting and pricing. This is his comfort zone — he plays it close to the smock and sees absolutely no need to change anything.
The shame of it is, there are still many mysteries surrounding this Court Painter. Great books about the Court Painter’s celebrity life and career have yet to be written to lift the veil of mystery and scandal. Much remains hidden beneath his paint encrusted smock and leather hat.
I continue to add to the fond memories of my boss. Like other studio members and various inner circle riff raff over the years, we continue witnessing private studio romps that are rather captivating in nature. There are times that I wish he would let down his guard, if but for a fleeting moment, to let others see what we usually saw.(Photos and videos available upon request for a small fee+ handling and shipping+ the signing of a confidentiality agreement)
For example, Court Painter has a great sense of humour but poor timing.
While he often presents himself as a stoic and serious artistic intellectual, he is quite pitifully funny behind the scenes in his decrepit Inglewood studio. He cracks jokes cribbed from a dog eared 50’s off colour joke book about everything from world events to naughty mishaps at the Ship & Anchor pub. He would do bad impressions every so often of his nemesis Chris Cran ( catching perfectly Cran’s lisp and bow legged gait) and, out of nowhere, throw in a sudden bit of light-hearted banter that eased the tension after firing yet one more leggy studio intern.
Alas, he rarely likes to show this side of himself in public. His rants rarely contain many jokes, and he would regularly bomb trying out humorous lines and ill conceived knock knock jokes that were usually about knockers and not fit for mixed company.
I know this from personal experience.
Alas,one likely doesn’t believe a professional portraitist of the Great Dominion’s political pontificators should act in such a manner. Yet, humour has worked remarkably well for some artists (Chris Cran’s fashion sense and one liners).I don’t think it would hurt Court Painter’s image in the slightest to just lighten up a bit in public.
Court painter also enjoys talking about art, music ,pole dancing and other forms of culture. While some people claimed he is vehemently opposed to the arts community, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Court Painter is always interested in learning more about great imposters, painters of fakes and dime store novelists, among other things that touch on the filthy and mundane.
Court Painter is also a great fan — along with myself — of reruns of Tugboat Annie. We faithfully watch this show together each week, and enjoy the historical, political, scientific and intellectual aspects contained in it. He even had a bit role in one episode in which he was Tugboat Annie’s love interest.
Meanwhile, there’s a warm, welcoming nature to Court Painter’s character that is mostly hidden from the public eye.
He has faith in my unpaid Press Attache and chief strategist abilities,”you da man” he often says. I am included in studio clean up policy discussions, debates about who picks up the morning coffee, and bar chats about hockey legends. He is always interested in hearing about a good exhibition catalogue and articles that include him — and often asks me to read them out loud and expound on them which always begins with reading his resume. He would listen faithfully to my thoughts and ideas, even though he ultimately didn’t use any of them….ever!
For a man who doesn’t have many close confidants, these moments were to be treasured.
My hope is, one day, the Court Painter will create a self illustrated graphic novel and spill the beans on what is an unending sordid story of debauchery at the highest level of the Great Dominion’s arts and political upper echelon. There are many great censored tales still left to be told. I just hope he includes me in one naughty tale!