|A recent unfinished self-portrait by Duane Todman|
Duane and I became acquainted two or three years ago when we met during a reception at Albany Center Gallery. He struck me immediately as an unusually serious person who was deeply thoughtful and very dedicated to his artistic pursuits. He showed an interest in having input from me, and we proceeded to talk from time to time about his pursuit of a career as a neo-Renaissance painter.
One of those talks took place in his studio at The Barn in Albany, where Duane also lived. Having lived in my own studio for many years when I was younger, this was a very comfortable experience, leavened with philosophical discussion and casual critique of his current work, which included portraits, still lifes, and figures.
Duane made great progress in his technique during the few years I knew him, and regularly told me he was seeking the right studio school in which to hone his skill. Apparently, he was about to realize that next step in his dream, as an obituary in today's Times Union reports that Duane had won a scholarship to the Academy of Realist Art Boston, and was set to go there next year.
Duane also was reported to have been working on a book, a screenplay, and musical recordings.
In our last email communications, which took place in March, Duane mentioned the book project and asked me if I'd be willing to read a first draft, to which I enthusiastically agreed; however, he hadn't yet followed up on that, so I never learned what the book was about.
At that time, he also sent me images of two paintings, one finished and one in progress, which I include with this post. As you can see, they are both excellent. Based on the strength of these paintings, I initiated an attempt to connect Duane with a New York City-area dealer of African American painters, but that had not yet borne fruit - perhaps stalled by the intensity of the pandemic in that area.
Now, with one brutal and senseless act, all that promise is gone, and we are left to grapple with the loss of this fine young man. One can only hope that Duane's killer is brought swiftly to justice, and that his family can temper their grief. May he forever rest in peace.
|A recent figurative painting by Duane Todman|