Painting: 'Intrepid Pilgrim - Lorne Kimber'
In the spring of 2006, during one of my visits with my friend Lorne Kimber, I asked if he would permit me to paint him. Lorne, who in his advanced state of multiple sclerosis had already lost most of his mobility, whimsically winked and whispered, "Yes!"
For ten Tuesdays after that, I would arrive in his room at the George Pearson Centre with my paraphernalia of easel, canvas, oil paints, bristle brushes, etc. I brought a portable CD player with selections of discs and I painted to the full blast of great classical music and sometimes to jazzy tunes. Lorne wept to the poignant notes of the cello and to the nostalgic lyrics through Cleo Lane's mellow voice. On the anniversary of D-Day, we listened to Beethoven's rousing 5th Symphony, at the end of which Lorne declared, "I feel like standing up!" – something he had not been able to do for over 23 years.
It was an incredible experience working with Lorne whose attitude towards life is ever positive. I wanted every session to be remembered by the brief notes jotted on the side of the canvas. The composition and the dimension of the painting will, I hope, convey some sense of his dignity and my measure of his stature as a person. I could have worked larger still.
At the completion, I felt sad that the process was over, but the painting remains as my tribute to my intrepid friend.
Click thumbnail for full-size image.