This is one of those special projects that you want to be perfect. This is a special couple, Gail and Denny Cresap began their life together in 1960. Together they've built a family and a business that will live on through their Family Foundation. Their son, John commissioned this portrait to hang in their foundation headquarters to honor their love and his admiration. He said he wanted everyone to witness the loving generosity of this vibrant couple. Painted at their beautiful family estate at Grand Lake Oklahoma, Gail wanted this portrait to be outdoors, where they enjoy the scenic surroundings of their lovely home and where they entertain friends and family. In the distant, you can see two bronze statues memorializing two beloved pets.
That moment, when your whole future has just changed for the better...This special commission will commemorate that moment when this beautiful young couple begin their life together....the moment she said yes. It is an incredible honor to be trusted with that moment that will forever be memorialized. When your grandchildren ask how you met...you will have a portrait that memorializes that moment.
It is an amazing honor, when one of my clients contacts me again to paint another portrait. It is such an affirmation of the client's happiness and approval of the portrait painted for them in the past. I was recently approached to paint another portrait for the University of Oklahoma, Health Sciences Center, College of Dentistry. Dean of the College of Dentistry, Raymond Cohlmia DDS. is stepping down from his position to takeover as the new executive director of the American Dental Association, the nation’s leading advocate for oral health. After meeting with Dr. Cohlmia, I started visually introducing myself by crating a number of sketches, including the charcoal head study and the small compositional study, seen here with the painting in process.
Here, I am delivering my completed portrait as I stand below the portrait I painted of Dr. Stephen K. Young I had painted a number of years earlier.
And here is the finished portrait of Raymond A. Cohlmia DDS.
I am ususally called because it has been decided that a portrait is needed for an institution or organization that wants to memorialize the contributions or achievments that a special person has shared with that organization. In this case my Alma Mater, the University of Oklahoma. In October 2008 it was announced that the College of Education had received a $8 million gift from H.E. (Gene) Rainbolt in honor of his late wife, Jeannine Rainbolt. Because of that contribution, the OU Board of Regents unanimously voted to rename the college in Rainbolt's honor. It is the only college at OU to be named for a female. Although the name had been changed some time ago, they felt that they needed some point of information or memorial. I was contacted by the current Dean Stacy Reeder to talk about the possibility of me painting the portrait. I am always first and foremost concerned with the person I am painting, and then their legacy. I want to know where the portrait will hang, what size are they thinking, is it to be a formal portrait, etc. When I asked where the portrait was to hang I wanted to make sure that the portriat would also reflect the prominence of the person being honored. This was a quick photo of the space that the portrait was to be hung. I thought it would be just another painting over a bookshelf un this situation so I took it upon myself to design a better display of the honor deserved. See below.
So here I am delivering the portrait. I can't wait to see it in its proper place after the dedication.
In February 25-26th I held a workshop "Paint Like a Master" for the Portrait Society of Atlanta at their spacious North Shallowford Road annex. I shared many examples from Rembrandt, Titian, Sargeant and Zorn, and compared how limited the palette range was for so many oftheir portraits. We then concentrated on how important values are in creatiing the illusion of realistic volume. I shared many lighting techniques as well as pointers on creating a likeness. The workshop was well recieved by all of the participants. Please see the review here from their publication, The FOLIO here: https://portraitsocietyofatlanta.org/paint-like-a-master-with-mike-wimmer/
With examples behind me, I share with the participants many examples of limited palette color schemes. I share the process of beginning the portrait of the Colonial Soldier, without any preliminary drawing, using only my measuring method to create a good likeness, concentrating first on proportions and value shapes. Since the workshop lasted two days, I was able to work with each participant individually to share advice and give feedback on color and value ranges, as well as any recomended adjustments to proportions. I was able to complete the portrait demonstration by the end of the second day, but brought it back to my studio to add any finishing refinements I thought necessary. About 2-weeks after the workshop each member shared their finished portrait with the grouiup via email and a Zoom meeting.
In one of the self portriats that I created for the workshop, I shared the Zorn Palette made up of the colors at top: White, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Light (Vermillion) and Ivory Black, and painted in the Alla Prima method. From start to finish, this demonstration took a total of 3 1/2 hours.
In another set of self portraits, using the same reference, I painted using a monochromatic underpainting, using White, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber and Transparent Oxice Red. This is an analogous color scheme that works very well as an underpainting stage for later completion. It was at this stage that I shared my measurement technique on a seperate piece of paper and then transferred the drawing to the canvas surface. During this very quick underpainting stage, I lay in the shadows thinly and build up the paint thickness with thicker more opaque colors. The whites are painted thickly with a thick and stiff Underpainting White,
Here is one more self portrait demonstration, painted in the Alla Prima method, using another Limited Palette combination of White, Transparent Oxide Red and Prussian Blue. Limiting the Gamut Range automatically harmonizes the color scheme of your painting. The subtle greys and neutrals are derived by the mixing of complimentary colors in this case a blue and an orange, with white. Depending on how you swing the range, either cooler or warmer (oranger or bluer) your greys will adjust likewise. Another point of interest; notice how the portraits were created using value contrasts; Middle Value > Dark Value > Light Value > Dark Value, otherwise known as Chiaroscuro or Chiaro=bright or clear, Scuro=dark or obscure.
A Labor of Love and for Love. This is a recent commission made by a Mr. Lovett of Georgia, who just didn't know what to give to the Love of his life and I was lucky enough to help him out by painting this portrait of a "Beautiful Lady". It was such an honor to be chosen to help him out, and I am extremley gratful for his trust in me.
12x16" Oil on canvas panel.
"No Spring nor Summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face"
I am often asked if I also do portraits of children. I greatly enjoy painting the portraits of children. I really enjoy capturing and portraying their lack or care for their formal outward appearance. They live in the moment and in their imaginations. This is how I prefer portraying them. In this portrait, I am portraying a brother and sister embracing one of the last days of outdoor exploration and play, before the constraints of winter sets in. Autumn is a time of the year when things slow down, the days get shorter and we celebrate the growth and abundance of the last season. I chose to magnify their budding beauty and strength, They stand in vibrant contrast to the decay of their surroundings, with their own personal Spring still before them.
I hope that you have enjoyed this little foray into my process. The finished portrait was painted on a cradled masonite panel, sized with four coats of acrylic gesso leaving the brush marks for texture and interest. The painting was 24x30x2". If you should have questions about commissions or pricing, please feel free to call me at 405-329-0478 or write at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW ALEXANDER HAMILTON BOOK RELEASED.
Mike Wimmer and Frank Keating's 5th book is released.
September 22, 2020
Savannah, GA and Oklahoma City, OK
Former 2-term Governor Frank Keating and Oklahoma's most prolific artist Mike Wimmer are noting the release of their 6th collaboration. This time they have combined their talents to celebrate the life of America's founding father Alexander Hamilton. This is the 4th book in a series of books documenting the lives of America’s Founding Fathers. The book was officially released on September 22, 2020 by Simon and Schuster Publishing. Governor Keating is now retired in Oklahoma City, OK with his wife Cathy and Mike Wimmer moved to Savannah, GA in 2017 where he has shares his love of art with his wife Jime and where they both serve as Professors at the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. Governor Keating and Mike Wimmer are hard at work on their next collaboration on Founding Father John Adams.
Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father, a Constitutional Convention delegate, author of the Federalist Papers, and the first secretary of the US Treasury, is brought to life with this vivid and accessible illustrated biography.
Alexander Hamilton was an unknown immigrant, an orphan, a boy of no connections but, still, despite all odds, had an important role in transforming the world. As George Washington’s right-hand man, Hamilton helped bring victory to America during the Revolutionary War, wrote most of the Federalist papers, and helped to build a country.
Author Frank Keating’s detailed historical facts are complemented by stunning paintings from Mike Wimmer to form a portrait that will fascinate young readers.
(author’s note, artist’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-11)
Pub Date: September 22, 2020
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster
Charles Dennis “Denny” Cresap | AftonI had the distinct privilege and honor to be chosen to paint the portrait of Mr. Denny Cresap for his induction into this year's Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Being selected as an inductee into the Hall of fame is the Oklahoma's Highest honor.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Charles Dennis “Denny” Cresap became an Oklahoman in 1952. He attended the University of Oklahoma and served in the U.S. Army before marrying Diana “Gail” Campbell. In 1968 the couple purchased a small Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Bartlesville—Northeast Distributing Company—and son John joined the family business twenty years later. The family next purchased the Budweiser distributorship in Oklahoma City, Premium Beers of Oklahoma, and grew it into one of the top 15 Anheuser-Busch distributorships in the United States. After selling Premium Beers to Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri, the family established the Cresap Family Foundation. Through the foundation, the Cresap’s now dedicate their time and resources to improving the quality of life for their fellow Oklahomans. The Foundation’s areas of emphasis are youth and families, health and wellness, education, arts and humanities, and animal welfare. Today, Cresap and his wife Gail make their home in Afton.
The Cresap Family Foundation was established in 2012 upon the final sale of the family’s business, Premium Beers of Oklahoma, one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributorships in the United States.
The family’s spirit of giving dates as far back as 1968 when a self-made auto dealer purchased a little Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Bartlesville, OK. They continue this spirit of charity today through the Cresap Family Foundation.
The Directors of the Cresap Foundation look at the needs in the communities in which they fund with a focus on helping those most in need. This is evidenced by their generous giving year by year.
Starts by getting to know your subject. I was very fortunate to receive a beautifully written and produced biography about Denny and his history. It was filled with stories and photographs of his life made me even more eager to represent the man that is referred to as, "Every body's Friend". So when the time came to meet with Mr. Cresap at his beautiful Lake home in Afton, Oklahoma that looks over Grand Lake of the Cherokees I already had some insight into his personality. Denny's beautifully charming wife hosted me for an intimate dinner with their son John the night before the sitting so that we all might get to know each other. The next morning I took a number of photographs of Mr. Cresap from many different angles and also collected a few photographs of a younger Mr. Cresap. These kind of photographs are invaluable for the artist. It allows me to better analyze the structure of the models features and those unique aspects such as posture, smile, etc. In a portrait, I am not only trying to capture a likeness, but to capture and record personality, manner and that those with whom they are close, will instantly recognize. I also look for elements of the sitter's surroundings that reflect the interests and accomplishments of their life. A successful portrait is a biography in paint. A novel of the client's life that will live well beyond the mortal and touch on the immortal. Details in the painting are visual reminders of the infinite features of a lifetime. Sometimes in the process, you recognize a detail that needs adjustment. Note the head of the dog standing next to Denny below. I wanted to portray the devotion of the Cresap's beloved pet so I scraped out the original underpainting and repainted in the more adoring face of their Bernese Mountain dog. Also take note of the surrounding collectibles, hand gestures, and elegant yet casual manner of this business man with the friendly smile. The details are important even to the selection of the frame. Here you see a few of the frame ideas.
Mike Wimmer is a portrait artist Living, Teaching and Painting in Savannah, Georgia
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Contact Mike: firstname.lastname@example.org 405.329.0478