Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Portrait of the Artist . . . or ... Desperately Seeking ...

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Sometime in the night from Monday to Tuesday, the little counter at the bottom of this page that started at zero on 1 January 2009, after a little over three months of blogging, went over the 50,000 mark. Now that may not be alot by some web site standards, but it was quite a pleasant milestone for me, given how totally obscure this page really is in the larger scheme of things.
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I don't know what it is that causes some pages to go simply viral, sort of like the black death did back in the Middle Ages from time to time, but so far this one hasn't. And it really doesn't matter. These ramblings from my overworked and addled mind, these photographs, the odd poem or two, even a bit of music, are simply the footprints left in the sand of blogland, by a traveller who wanted to leave a small trace of his passing, while there still be time to do so.
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I would like however, to ask for your help here, yes you, whether you are one who sometimes comments here, or one who lurks, or one who has dropped in by chance. The watercolor portrait of me here, a portrait of the artist as a young man, was done by a young lady at the time, perhaps not so young today, named Christine Ventimiglia. I would like you to help me find her. All I know is that she was at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania around 1982 and 1983, but after that, I have no idea. So I'd like you to pass the link to this page and this portrait around by whatever means are at your disposal, to ask everyone you know if they know where Christine Ventimiglia is today. And if you can find her, just ask her to drop me an e-mail. I'd like to thank her for painting this picture so long ago, which has followed me around ever since. She did it very quickly one winter afternoon while I was playing guitar in a park somewhere up around NYC, and as a joke she signed it "Christopher". She caught who I was back then. No one before or after ever painted my portrait, so I've always held this scrap of paper with a bit of watercolor on it quite near and dear. I wonder what the odds are of finding her today ? Oh, and I already looked on Facebook and Google. Should I hold out and not do another post until she has been found ? What was that film ? Desperately seeking . . . ?
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Memories of some of the ladies and angels who have graced my life . . . taken in Italy, 1991.
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This next is a portrait of yours truly that was taken by Tom B., at my request, after I'd noticed the slightly warped reflecting surface on a cinderblock wall in an abandoned factory somewhere that we happened to find ourselves in. He very kindly obliged, taking this over my shoulder, unobtrusively, and it showed up in my e-mail box a few days later. Thanks a million Tom !
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Cold weather is coming on
Wishing I could get me gone
To some place where those chilly winds
Won't be hounding me
Chasing me indoors
Hard to believe
That Spring is springing
In New Zealand . . .
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Wherever you may be
I send you loads of firewood
To heat up your heart
For free
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50 comments:

Steve said...

100,000 mark fast approaching - I have no doubt!

The Pliers said...

Congratulations, Owen!

Enquiring minds would like to know:

Why is the portrait signed Christopher if Christine painted it?

If the blog was started on January 1, 2009, why is it three months...?

I've already had my coffee so my confusion cannot be chalked up to a lack of caffeine in my blood!

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

beautifull post, love the way you have made

the fly in the web said...

Your blog has done me a great service...it has taught me to start using my eyes!

Adam said...

Ah, searching for women from our past - a dangerous game! The problem is that they have a tendance to get married and change their names!

lgsquirrel said...

Good luck with your search. I have been successful in finding a few old friends via google, specific websites and facebook but there was the one which got away. I'm still looking for her. But as Adam says above, women tend to change their names.

Nathalie said...

Lots of stuff in this post. First the 50,000 milestone, congratulations !
Then the Looking for Christine game... I wonder where that will take you? As Adam points out, it can be a dangerous game, if you ever get somewhere. Anyway, I'll try to relay that at some stage in my blog.

And then the 2 portraits, some 15 years or more apart. Honestly I can't say I miss the mustache. I think you look better without it. But what a great portrait nevertheless. Christine is talented indeed.

And finally let me say to those of your readers who aren't lucky enough to have met you in person that you are far more handsome than your portrait by Tom B. suggests !!! ;-)

Nathalie said...

And thanks for dumping all that firewood at my door. I'd rather you had stacked it neatly near the fireplace but I guess that's not part of your job?

Springtime in NZ now? Wishing I were there indeed ! Even more so since my son lives there at the moment and it's been almost 2 years since I last saw him. I miss him...

Nathalie said...

And one more thing. Thanks for your visit in Avignon and correcting me on the "just fur us" thing. That was a fun typo, me thinks !

Laurie said...

Hi Owen,

Try going onto Dogpile search engine and putting in the name. Look for the entry for www.intelius.com and it lists about a dozen of her!

Laurie:

Laurie said...

and this:

http://www.123people.com/s/christina+ventimiglia

jeff said...

Pas mal le portrait qui flotte dans tous les sens ! ! !
Superbe l'en-tête... Maintenant, reste plus qu'à changer la typographie !
Mais je rigoooooole !
Il y a un baïl que je ne suis venu ici cotoyer le british et son blog toujours en effervescence ( avec deux f ? )...:)
Comment vas-tu cher Owen ?
Désolé de t'avoir abandonner depuis tout ce temps !
Les blogs c'est bien beau... mais faut avoir du temps pour les alimenter ! ! ! Un peu comme ces bébêtes japonaises à qui il faut donner à manger sous peine de les voir disparaitre ou mourir...:)

A un des ces quatre Owen !
Viens t'allonger sous un de mes arbres ! Allonger pour te reposer bien évidemmment ! ! !

Ciao amigopixpot !

Eleonora said...

How romantic, this search for the lost artiste!!

With that name, she's surely of Italian origin.

She indeed captured the essence of you with her painting... how lovely that you still have it and wish to find her to thank her. I will keep my eyes and ears open for that name...

Wonderful images, especially the new header.

Ciao
E xx

ρομπερτ said...

As rare things are searching for something alike, am sure that life and time will bring you together again.

A Magic Latern entry indeed.

Please have a good Thursday.

daily athens

Stickup Artist said...

How fascinating! And what a great paining to have in your possession. I love the manikin torsos too. The one on the left is eerily alive! Good luck in your search...

Being Me said...

My first visit to your blog. I LOVE Joni Mitchell! Fate. Am your newest follower, something I don't do lightly.

mythopolis said...

Nice portrait. Christine is obviously talented. I did try a brief search via Kutztown's Alum Association...could not find her in the electronic phonebook there. Maybe she transferred out. Maybe she went to U of P? Anyway, good luck. Hope you can locate her. Are your blog posts accessible by google search? If so, entitle one of your posts with her name. She, or someone else googling her name, may find it.

K'line Bloom said...

Salut Owen,
Je suis touchée par la nostalgie de ton post, le poème et la video également (un très beau texte d'ailleurs).
Nous nous demandons tous plus ou moins, à un moment de notre vie, ce que sont devenus les personnes qui ont compté pour nous...parfois de belles surprises lorsque le vœu se réalise, parfois des déceptions... !
Bonne chance Owen,
Bises

Beth Niquette said...

I love that portrait of you! Thanks again for a fascinating read! Did you know one of your pictures is featured on Clytie's Guest Heart Thursday? Pretty cool!

Happy GHT!

Nevine said...

What an awesome post, Owen! So much of you, here... not only the portrait... and the photo... but the spirit of Owen... that lives and breathes. An awesome slice of you to share with us... so thank you!

BTW, I love Joni Mitchell!!!

Nevine

Dedene said...

Congrats on your viral popularity. Hope you are able to find Christine. There are some people who are just NOT on Internet -- amazing isn't it?

Roxana said...

oh Owen, truly, this is one of your most touching posts, at least for me... i so hope you find her again, life can be like this, when one least expects. and your portrait, such an unsettling look, that almost metaphysical warping of one's identity, and the black and white picture from Italy, so magnificent, which makes me think about identity and self again (Blade runner)...

Owen said...

Hey Steve... well, what's in a number ? 100000 or 1000000 or 10000000,guess it doesn't really matter finally... may 1 or 10 or 100 is more realistic as far as numbers of visitors who come around. It would quickly become impossible to carry on conversations with anyone, and that's the best part...

Owen said...

Dear Pliers of the Equiring Minds Association...

It says in the paragraph there somewhere that she signed in Christopher as a joke... People called her Chris, for short, when I first met her, so I asked her if that was an abbreviation of Christopher... she said it was, so from then on I called her Christopher, though her real name was Christine...

As for the three months, maybe I wasn't as clear as I thought I was being, but I first started the blog in late September 2008, but only figured out how to put a visit counter on the page about three months later, and actually started the counter on 1 January 2009, three months after starting the blog...

Hope that clarifies. During those first three months There were almost no visitors to count anyway, and it took several more months before anyone started coming around from time to time. When I go back and look at some of those early posts, there is some of what I consider my best work there, but no comments on any of it... may have to resurrect a few of those posts into the present to see if they get any reactions now...

Keep enquiring, I know you have one of the most enquiring minds out there...
:-)

Owen said...

Thank you Vienna !

Owen said...

Dear Fly in Web,
I'm thinking that is a very fine compliment indeed, because we all know how many hundreds of eyes flies have... may you see true and clearly then
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Adam,
Well, perhaps not too dangerous, I really do just want to thank her for the painting, but you're probably right, the name may very well have changed... But one never knows, sometimes the world turns out to be a very small place indeed. And now if someone Googles her name, my blog comes up on page one of the Google results, just for having mentioned her in the text... who knows....

Owen said...

Hi LGS, I guess there's always the one that got away in our lives... hope some day you can find her, and make her a suitable offering of acorns...
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Nathalie, thanks so much for all three of these very kind comments... hope you'll get to see your son very soon, that must not be easy. As for the firewood, of course I'll come and stack it, but I had to finish making deliveries, which were rather widespread, sort of like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, all over the earth at the speed of light with his reindeer...
Bises...

Owen said...

Hey Laurie,
Thanks a million for the tips there, I wasn't familiar with either of those sites... really appreciate your help !!!

Owen said...

Salut Jefffff, en effet, cela fait un bon bail, je me suis dit que tu faisais une pause des blogs... tu ressors un peu de la caverne pour renifler l'air et tendre une oreille vers les arbres de nouveau pour écouter les oiseaux divers qui se promenent par ci et par là ? Et oui, les tamagotchis, il faut les nourir un peu, mais un blog est de loin plus amusant qu'un petit bout de plastique... je les trouvais même assez effrayant ces tamagotchis... qui pourrait devenir attaché à quelques pixels grossiers sur un tout petit écran gris ???

En esperant que tu te portes comme une fleur, la face au soleil...

Owen said...

Ciao Lola !
Indeed, the town of Ventimiglia in northern Italy is a lovely place, I'd love to go back there. Thanks so much, and glad you found this romantic. The two plastic mannequins, who seemed so alive to me, are from Italy also, near Briançon, France.

Take care, keep all those delectable things rolling out of your kitchen !!!

Owen said...

Hi Robert,
You never fail to floor me with the depth of your perceptions... so yes, perhaps rare elements in nature will seek each other's company, and can find their way back again if separated ? Time will tell...

Smiles to you in Athens...

Owen said...

Hi Stickup,
I just got the black & white photo of the mannequins back in a stack of negatives sent off to be scanned, I'd been waiting to see that photo for years now, having never printed it before, I only had it on a tiny contact sheet copy. I can't believe how alive they both look, their eyes especially. I'm think that if I cropped the image down to just their heads, and it wasn't so obvious they were plastic, they might be able to fool just about anyone...

Hope you had an excellent Halloween, and now we are on the back stretch leading up to Thanksgiving, and then the final curve and home stretch to Xmas...
Bon courage...

Owen said...

Dear Being Me,
Many thank you's for stopping by, and leaving this kind word... I always say, "The more the merrier", and really appreciate all visits here to this obscure little blog. I'll be by to see what you're up to at Being Me here shortly. I haven't been to Australia yet, but hope to someday. My daughter went, and loved it...

Owen said...

Hey Mythos,
Thanks so much for looking ! Actually, it doesn't even need to be in the title of a post, just having put her name in the text of the post causes my blog to turn up now on page one of a Google search for her name, which surprised me no end. So maybe she will see it some day and get in touch... She was wonderfully talented as both a painter and a writer... But sort of like the line in Bobby McGee... Somewhere near Salinas, I let her slip away...

Owen said...

Bonjour K'line,
Oui, je pense à un certain age on a inevitablement envie de découvrir le destin de certaines personnes que nous avons connues jeunes... et certes, il y aura eu des transformations parfois inattendues. Bien que, aux US en septembre j'ai pu retrouver une fille qui était au lycée, je ne l'avais pas vu depuis 30 ans, elle me semblait parfaitement comme si c'était hier... On a passé un bon moment... avec son mari et sa fille...

(Sue, if you are reading this, stop blushing, it's true, you haven't changed a bit...)
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Beth, thanks so much for the tip about Clytie's Hearts, I'm off to look...
Be well...

Owen said...

Dear Nevine,
I think when it comes down to pure, simple, kindness, you are in a world apart. Although I'd been sub-consciously conscious of this quality in you, it just hit me for some reason... when I come to leave a word or two at your place, I always take a moment to read what others are saying to you, but especially what you are answering, and I think it is clear, you have a wonderful gift for letting people know how much you appreciate them; which comes shining through like starlight, twinkling, one can sense the gleam of light in your dark eyes...

So thank you... just simply thank you...

Owen said...

Hi Dedene !
It's been a little while... hope all is well where you are. Yeah, hard to imagine people these days not having internet visibility. But then, when I've looked at Google for my name, there are so many people named "Owen Phillips", I don't show up until pages into the Google results. There are even several with the same middle name as me ! So there's more than one way to be invisible... blending in with the herd is one.
:-)

PS I know you like good music; Suzanne Vega played in Paris last night, she was wonderful... will post some pix soon...

Owen said...

Dearest Roxana,
I know you are looking at life on many levels, you always see so deeply and with such clarity right into the depths of any matter... je suis très touché si tu as bien aimé ces images. Les filles en plastique d'Italie me semblent bourrées de sens à plein de niveaux, j'aime bcp... I hope you haven't been working too hard, and have a little time for yourself, for the little one, and for the gentle man in your life...

A hundred warm hugs just got sent in the Firewood truck across the Floating Bridge to find a home in Romania to deliver them to...
:-)

Peter said...

I found this: http://www.archives.com/GA.aspx?_act=AncestorResults&firstName=christine&lastName=ventimiglia&location=US&recordType=5

There are three records of a Christine Ventimiglia, but you have to pay.

Yes, we really must try to meet so I can see your portrait again for real!

Lydia said...

Hi Owen. This was such a fascinating and truly beautiful post, and all the comments have been remarkable too. Will you let us know immediately when you find her? (Notice I say when and not if!) What a marvelous artist! I love this portrait of you.

50,000..... and yours would be a Blog of Note if I had any vote at Blogger!

Owen said...

Thanks very much Peter...

Not sure I'm ready to start shelling out any hard earned cash on this effort... but now the search is out there, guess like a patient fisher, we'll see what comes back...

Owen said...

Hi Lydia, I will surely let everyone know when the painter in question turns up... I agree with you, we must remain optimistic in life...

And thanks so much for the kind words about blogs of note... this little blog is so totally obscure, I'm sure it is not even on blogger's radar screen. I have no idea how they go about choosing blogs of note, out of the millions of blogs out there, it must be quite a challenge.

mythopolis said...

Well, Owen, I let one slip away too. Believe it or not, a Pennsylvania girl. ( Sarah Goodfellow, are you out there?) Last I knew she was working on a dissertation about the evolution of hot air balloons in the 19th century. She had a dog named 'Brando' and drove an ancient Citroen.

Alberto Oliver said...

Well, i was about to congratulate and such when i read about the watercolor. Heck, yes, Desperately seeking should be a good name, fortunately you have the name at least and that is a good clue to begin with. A wonderful work by the way, just a little bunch of gifted people can actually make something more than lines and create a real portrait which can reflect not only the main traits of one´s face, but also the soul. The psycological portrait, an X ray of the people´s spirit. Yes only a few skilled ones can do that.
Who knows Owen, maybe it was some kind of a magical being, a muse, an angel, a fairy, who simply materialized for giving you a pretty present for life =)
Ah,,i was forgeting, congratulations for the 50000 visitors, i am sure it will go beyond and you would need a newer counter, or it will blow out hehe.
Have a wonderful weekend, and may the painter girl to appear again.
=) =)

Artscapes said...

Haha What a fun search! Have you tried contacting the Alumni Relations at KU? Maybe they can help you connect. Bonne chance!

Gwen Buchanan said...

This is all so beautiful.. memories and momentos...
...why is it such a small world and a huge world at the same time...

Snowbrush said...

Good luck there with your search for your artist friend. I guess you're thinking it's time she did another portrait of you!