Yesterday I found out that Michael Gnatek died.
Gnatek was an amazing painter. A calm person, that made you feel calm just being around him. I posed for several of his paintings. It was fun, riding horses, waving around flags and guns. He was the first person I personally knew that made a living off of doing art, that wasn't just a gig on the side. Sure he made a lot of commercial images, but he was still painting and drawing for a living.
He also taught me amazing colored pencils techniques, that to this day, I still think of color in the same ways even when painting in photoshop.
I was looking forward to seeing him again and talking more about the business side of art, and showing him what I had been up to. I had tried to contact him earlier in the year, but I never heard back. He apparently was too sick. I didn't even know.
It was an honor to pose for him. You might not enjoy his subject matter, but there is no denying his skill.
The Washington Post has an interesting obituary up. Well worth the read Link
I have a color proof of one the paintings I posed for. It's interesting because he painted me with my then really long hair. The art director made him shorten it for the final print (didn't think it was appropriate). I'll scan and post it soon.
Patton at Bastogne by Michael Gnatek
I remember carrying this jacket, binoculars and holster in to his studio. He was a stickler for accuracy and detail. I also remember months later seeing this nearly finished large oil painting and being just utterly amazed. If you get a chance google some of his Native American drawings and paintings, that's were his passion and compassion is truly depicted.