Sunday, June 10, 2007

The World's Greatest Portrait Artist

On Saturday, we welcomed Korky Paul to Mostly Books for one of our biggest events to date. Whilst I have heard plenty of first-hand accounts of Korky's genius, this was the first time I'd seen him in action, and he was quite brilliant.

Usually, I finish an event report by thanking the author, but in this instance I'm going to start by thanking him (and may do so several times below). In theory, we had planned two 45-60 minute sessions at 11am and 2pm respectively, but Korky slaved away almost solidly from 11am until 4pm.

The weather on Saturday was evil - hot, humid, and in our suntrap garden the sun was beating down relentlessly, and yet he slaved away with infinite patience, good grace and effortless brilliance painting portraits of the children who had come along, and signing books. Above and beyond the call of duty, and much respect sir.
Korky kicked off by explaining what a portrait was, and why he is the world's greatest portrait artist:



The garden was standing room only, and I did get a bit worried about kids getting frazzled and people keeling over in the heat. We kept a constant supply of water jugs and cups coming out of the shop to keep people hydrated.
Here's a BenOsaurus Rex underway - Korky was also full of tips for aspiring artists, and mixed marker pens with paint to create the effects:
The children were spellbound - he has that wonderful knack that the best storytellers and entertainers have of commanding attention without resorting to gimmicks or patronising the crowd.
Here's Korky "counting spikes" for one of his young subjects:


As if that wasn't enough, Korky sat and chatted to families as he signed books - and I do hope he wasn't in trouble with his family for being extremely late back.

Having never done this before, we really didn't know quite how the event would run, and Korky did his best to do portraits of everyone, but in the end ran out of time. We do hope to have him back, so for those children disappointed at the end, let us know who you were.
Thanks once again to Korky for a wonderful event. Thanks are also due to Anu, who kept the shop running superbly whilst I was out the back, to Oliver and Simon who I worked almost as hard as Korky throughout the day, and finally to everyone who came along and sat in the garden - I hope you all had as good a day as I did!

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