Thursday 11 December 2008

A feel good story for the holidays.

I want to talk a little bit about that rare group of tools that many of us have in our care. These are the tools that are cherished for very personal reasons - their value goes way beyond what was paid for them. They are cherished because of how they were acquired - an unexpected gift from someone special, or one of those tools that represents personal inspiration, or a gift that was sent as a thank-you. Over the years I have had the good fortune to gather a few of these tools - my Bill Carter mitre plane, a few exquisite Japanese tools, two certain left-handed plow planes to name a few. I use most of these tools - but a few are simply admired for their pure beauty and as a reminder of the hands that made them. The stories behind the tools are what elevate them to this rarefied group.

Our neighbour Shannon Reynolds is a portrait painter, and over the course of a few conversations this past summer, I rather shyly asked if she would be interested or willing to paint a portrait (or two) of a few of these tools. Now to say Shannon is a portrait painter does not really cover it. She is an exceptional painter. You owe it to yourself to take a few moments to take a look at her work. And in particular - read this!

Shannon seemed quite interested in the idea and I was very pleased that there was a distinction between still life and a portrait. She “got it” right away.

A few weeks ago, she stopped by to see a few of the tools. We had a wonderful, long conversation about tools, woodworking, painting and life in general. She was particularly interested in the stories behind the tools and wanted to capture that in the portrait somehow. She left the shop with the Carter mitre plane in her pocket.

A few days later, she sent an email to let me know she had visited Bill’s site and had even sent them a note to let them know what she was doing and to ask permission to use some of the copy from their site as background for the portrait. They very kindly agreed. A few days after that - she sent me another email with these two attachments;

Shannon Reynolds, Mitre plane in brass and boxwood, oil and gold leaf on panel, 10" x 10", © 2008

Mitre plane in brass and boxwood, oil and gold leaf on panel, detail

I am thrilled to say the least... and I haven’t even seen the real portrait yet!

And the story does not end here. I will pass you along to Shannon’s blog to read the latest chapter in this amazing story... what an incredible world we live in.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fabulous picture - beautiful work.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

12 December 2008 at 04:38  
Blogger Unknown said...

What fantastic stories, Konrad. Thanks for sharing them.

Now I'm wondering what other great artists live on your street.

12 December 2008 at 09:31  
Blogger Shannon Reynolds said...

Thank you for this--and for the whole introduction to the parallel world of hand made hand tools. I'm looking forward to painting many more of these storied subjects.

12 December 2008 at 10:12  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Paul. I will post a photo of the portrait once it finds a home in our house.


12 December 2008 at 10:50  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jameel,

Funny you should ask. We have been in this house for a little over 4 years and I have only recently found out that we have another neighbour specializes in dry stone walls. Certainly someone else I am going to need to get to know!


12 December 2008 at 10:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Shannon,

You are most welcome. The portrait far exceeds my wildest thoughts - it will be a wonderful addition to our home. We will create a place of honour for it.

My deepest thanks,

12 December 2008 at 10:54  
Blogger raney said...

Wow. Great story, but the painting itself is even more extraordinary...

Sounds like Bill Carter was pretty impressed too. I'm with Jameel - must be something in the water up there. Can you send me a few gallons?

Congratulations on a spectacular acquisition Konrad - and Shannon, if you are reading... BRAVO!

12 December 2008 at 15:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'd like to move to your neighborhood.

Ms. Reynolds,

Brilliant work! I've bookmarked your blog now. I'll look forward to each of your posts.


12 December 2008 at 17:57  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Raney,

I agree totally - the painting is outstanding.

Tell you what - you know there is an open invitation to visit - and you are welcome to as many gallons as you want:)


12 December 2008 at 18:35  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Dan,

I will keep an eye out for a house in "the hood" for you:)


12 December 2008 at 18:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An Artists interpretation of an Artists Work, an interesting medium and wonderfully executed!
Lovely work all round!!

The Cosmopolitan & Fingerprint Martini oils of Shannon Reynolds are particularly special

kind regards

stephen O

13 December 2008 at 13:52  

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