Status of Original Painting – For Sale
All prices are in Canadian dollars
Size: 11 x 15 inches
Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches
This is the venerable lead guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend of The Who, at a concert I attended in Toronto several years ago. He’s at one of those moments where he’s deep into the music. Moments later his right arm did the famous windmilling motion to slash power chords out of that guitar (on occasion he would slash his hand bloody doing that). I was armed only with my iPhone camera and found that many photos were partly washed out by the stage lights. Townshend’s face was fully visible in less interesting standing poses, such as when he played acoustic guitar. But after reviewing all my photos again, this one seemed just right, recognizably him, with his head tossed back into the bright light in a moment of musical ecstasy.
The Who are my all-time favorite band and I’ve attended many farewell concerts by them, starting during the first such farewell tour on October 9, 1982 at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto (they’ve been retiring for years but keep coming back!). Below are two photos taken a few days after the 1982 concert, displaying a banner I’d created to celebrate bass player John “The Ox” Entwistle‘s birthday on the same day as the concert. A local radio station sponsored a contest to create the best birthday banner to be displayed at the concert, and Brebeuf College School classmate Mike Rose (he’s on the left, I’m on the right) cajoled me to use my artistic skills and win this contest with him (his idea but largely my effort). I forget what the prize was supposed to be. I made a detailed miniature, blew it up with an overhead projector (remember those?), and Mike helped me ink it onto a bedsheet. He and I paraded around the field with the banner during the designated time before the concert started. We received much praise and congratulatory remarks from largely already stoned concert attendees. Toward the end, a director from the radio station, an older man, came up to us and declared that the banner was fantastic, beyond compare, the best one by far, and that we had won! But – hang on – we were disqualified because “how the hell can I give you the prize when it doesn’t say CHUMFM on it?” (I consulted the diary I kept then for details I’d long forgotten.) There hadn’t been such an instruction in the rules announced on the radio. I had a marker with me for touch-ups and rapidly scribbled “from 104 Chum FM” in the centre. But we were too late, the judges had already made up their minds to award it to a poster that prominently named the radio station. Thanks, guys. According to my diary, I did receive “3 albums for my pain from CHUMFM spotters,” so it wasn’t a lost cause. Plus I was proud of that banner too.
I’m not sure what happened to that banner. I think the ink bled after it had been left folded too long. Maybe I gave it to Mike Rose. Also, the banner reminds me that colored markers and fabrics should be listed among the media I’ve used over the years.
The Who, with surviving members Townshend and Roger Daltrey, are touring again this year, supported by an orchestra.
Back to this painting – it was a change of pace for me, unlike all the Newfoundland, international, and wildlife scenes I’ve done. It was a lot of fun to do from beginning to end.
I started a “Newfoundland Music” section on my website back in 2005, which I’ve contributed to sporadically. This one isn’t a Newfoundland scene but I’m going to put it there. And maybe Townshend and Daltrey will make it here before their truly final tour, whenever that is.
My thanks to Lisa Samways for suggesting the title, which can refer to Townshend being in the moment, and also that during his guitar solos, he is the one with the music.