Friday, May 22, 2015

Mort Kunstler, artist

Mort Kunstler, artist
Since I was in Winchester for an article, I was part of the media invited to the opening of an art exhibit at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.  It actually opened the next day, but we got a special preview (I felt so honored!).  Mort Kunstler himself was there and he spoke to us for an hour, sharing stories of various paintings that are on display.  There are four large rooms filled with a great variety of Mort's artwork.  At age 84 years, he is still painting and still doing well.  I really enjoyed hearing him tell stories about his work.  He said, "It's been a wonderful life - a dream come true.  Do what you love and get paid for it."  He and the museum staff were all so gracious and I so enjoyed my visit to the whole museum.

This painting, entitled "Respect of an Army, Appomattox Court House," was done this year.  He had intended for it to be his last Civil War painting (he's done hundreds of them), but then he did one more since then.  Now, he says he thinks he's finished doing the Civil War.  Mort tries to be as accurate as possible in presenting a scene.  He even put puddles of rainwater in the foreground because it had rained the night before the surrender on April 9, 1865.  Now, that's what I call meticulous!
Mort told how it came about that he illustrated the cover of MAD magazine in 1976.  The magazine asked if he would do a cover and he said, "No way.:  When his daughter heard about it, she said it would be so cool if he did one, so he called back and said he would.  He signed with the pen name "Mutz," because at the time, he wasn't so sure he wanted to claim it.  I think he later changed his mind when he saw how popular the magazine became.

After our tour through the museum, we walked through the adjacent garden and saw these beautiful tulips, along with other very nice plantings and a historic house.  It was a beautiful, warm May day and we enjoyed seeing God's beautiful creations.  Time to go home!

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