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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