Last summer artist Tammy Callens and I went to visit Bert Raynes. I’d posted an image of Bert on Facebook. Bert, a distinctive bird, caught Callens’ eye. Callens paints portraits, and minutes after spying Bert on my Facebook page she contacted me to find out who this extraordinary man might be.
Callens wanted to paint Bert’s portrait.
“Brilliant,” I thought. Why hadn’t I come up with this? Callens and Bert had never met, but as soon as she expressed interest, my mind leapt at the possibilities. Of all Jackson’s special citizens, who was more deserving of a Callens portrait? Nobody. A “Bert” portrait might raise excellent funds for his beloved non-profit, The Meg and Bert Raynes Foundation.
A year later Callens’ portrait is complete. It’s a stunner. And it’s up for sale as of Friday, June 26th, at Mountain Trails Gallery in Jackson. An opening reception takes place Saturday, June 27th, 4-6:00 pm at the gallery. Callens is donating a significant portion of “Bert” sales proceeds to his foundation. The exhibition, entitled “Soliloquy,” remains on display through July 2nd.
“The sad thing is, it looks like me,” says Raynes.
Boy, does it. Witty self-deprecation is pure Bert. In fact, he couldn’t be more thrilled. Callens’ spot-on portrait captures Bert as he was the day they met~~handsome in his signature red sweater and suspenders, Bert posed for Callens. Within minutes she’d sketched a lively impression and began playing with color.
“I love painting Bert as he was exactly on the day we met,” Callens recalls. “His life, compassion, knowledge and contributions extend far beyond those of most folks; most of us can’t imagine doing a fraction of his work. I felt his energy immediately and fell completely in love.”
Callens’ portrait depicts Bert surrounded with jars, bowls and bottles; symbols of a wellness campaign. Birds, Bert’s life’s work and extended family, are present too. Most importantly, the painting IS Bert. Any “F.O.B.,” (Friend of Bert) sees this immediately. When we’re with Bert, intelligence and sparky conversation are impressed upon us. We learn. He listens. We have a democratic, lifetime experience.
Want to be an F.O.B.? Make a beeline for Mountain Trails Gallery. Get there first. Be the “Bert” buyer. Be the first Jackson Hole “nature mapping” citizen to contribute to Bert’s foundation. Be the first person, as far as I know, to support a worthy cause by bringing home a portrait of a most distinguished bird. www.tammycallens.com , www.mtntrails.net https://www.facebook.com/JacksonHoleActivities