Art’s impact on the subject was unexpected

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  • Painting by Conrad Bagley

  • 1

    Painting by Jessica Bryant

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    Painting by Kyle Paliotto

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    Painting by Robert Krogle

  • Painting by Conrad Bagley

  • 1

    Painting by Jessica Bryant

  • 2

    Painting by Kyle Paliotto

  • 3

    Painting by Robert Krogle

Last week I mentioned my participation in an event, presented by Art Spirit Gallery at The Resort Plaza Shops. The annual public display of Art in the Making was the brainchild of the late Steven Gibbs, and this first one since his passing was organized by artist Terry Lee.

While I knew my foray into the realm of artists’ model would be interesting, I was unprepared for just how transformative the experience would be. In the center of the plaza, I was seated on a small stage platform in a comfortable chair for three hours, with instructions to be still and to focus on something specific in the plaza to maintain the pose. Every 30 minutes there was a break to stretch.

What I found the most challenging was allowing my face to be neutral, expressionless, devoid of any emotion. The four professional artists tasked with creating my likeness in a relatively brief time frame while the public looked over their shoulders, literally and figuratively, were people I’d not met before: Conrad Bagley, Jessica Bryant, Robert Krogle and Kyle Paliotto.

The four talented painters created distinctly different interpretations, and it was a bit unsettling at first to see myself as they saw me. I felt very exposed, although fully clothed. My face is not anonymous — besides appearing here in this column weekly for over two decades (and for the past few years gracing billboards from Seattle to Montana and down the U.S. 95 corridor), I’m a rather public person. But what made this experience so fascinating is that I’d not given thought to how we “present” ourselves to the public. Without expression, that presentation becomes a blank canvas and speaks volumes.

Similar to why emails and text messages don’t compare to in-person or even telephone conversations, without expressions or inflections of voice, messages can be received differently than we intend.

When I posted photographs of the portraits created to my Facebook page, another interesting realization came to light. People who know me were aghast that the likenesses did not feature a smile. I like that peoples’ impression of me is that I’m often smiling, because it’s true.

We all have more than one dimension to our personalities and to our faces. Conrad painted me looking imperious, a stern woman who does not suffer fools. Jessica’s black and white image shows strength, determination, a woman who has seen much and survived it all. Robert’s interpretation of light and vulnerability touched me. Kyle’s portrait in brown tones with an indistinct and unfinished feel perhaps sums up where I am ... an imperfect and continually evolving woman in my 65th year of life.

These artists gave me an incredible gift of awareness far beyond any expectation, and for that I’m grateful to legendary visionaries like Steve Gibbs and an extraordinary community of artists.

• • •

The third week of October each year is National School Bus Safety Week. If any group is deserving of our appreciation, it’s those who transport such precious cargo as our kids.

Rain, snow, sleet, hail to school and back home, to games and events with better on-time stats than any major airline. Driving a school bus in North Idaho is not for the faint of heart ... maneuvering mountain roads and highways and tight corners and straightaways, while maintaining order and civility with young humans who are not predisposed to quiet contemplation

And then there are those with whom the big yellow buses share the road, motorists who ignore the stop arm and flashing lights and school zone speed limits. The responsibility and skill involved to drive a school bus are both significant. The best way to thank a bus driver may just be to obey traffic laws, prepare your children to be courteous passengers, and, when behind the wheel of your car, be patient and watchful while they’re loading and discharging their precious cargo.

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Things to Do Highlights: Apropos of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Safe Passage presents A Martini Affair tonight at Seasons Fresh Grill and Bar in Coeur d’Alene. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Info: 664-9303.

Opening weekend of Coeur d’Alene High School’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. at the school.

Aspire Community Theatre’s Young Frankenstein opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Oct. 28 at the Kroc. aspirecda.com

Post Falls Booster Club All Sports Silent Auction and Dinner on Saturday from 6-9 p.m. at the Slab Inn.

Sunday is going to the dogs with Howl-O-Ween Doggie Dash, Croffoot Park in Hayden. Check-in at noon, run/walk starts at 1 p.m. Hayden Rec Department, 208-209-1080.

• • •

Happy birthday today to Lauri Armon, Arlene Pischner, Terry Gurno, Will Wolff, Kevin Clement and Kathy Reid. Tomorrow Tony Shields, Dan Gookin, Tom Hamilton, Bobbi Koep, Louise Jackson, Linda Chapman and Holly Hall take another trip around the sun.

Oct. 20 is the date Mary Lou Reed, Luke Malek, Barbara Templin, Mary Willeford (60!), Jodie Krieg, Nick Peacock, Brooke Litalien, Kara Powers, Chantell Bond and Jerry Lee came into the world. Carly Goodlander, Mike Threadgill, Monika Krapfl, Stefan Smith (30!) and Paul Mikel celebrate on Saturday. Sara Fetters, Kristin Childers, Thomas Henderson, Chastin Jaeger, Whitney Brown and Jazmine Brown put on their party hats on Oct. 22.

Blowing out the birthday candles Monday are Alyssa Hersey, Sholeh Patrick, Greg Helbling, LeRoy Pope, Debbie Bales, Nathan Tull, Amy Hewel, Tim Snyder, Margaret VanLeuven, Matt Morgan, Christopher Adamson and my grandson Connor Huft. Come Tuesday Rocky Banks, Jeff Turk, Melissa Hjeltness, Adam Slobodow, Randy Millsap and David Ingalls celebrate the anniversary of their birth.

• • •

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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