Jack Balas, 2017; BOB HOWE WANTED TO PAINT STORIES--- (FOR ROBERT CHARLES HOWE, 1954-2002) (#1446)
watercolor & ink on 2 paper panels, 30" x 45" overall

BOB HOWE WANTED TO PAINT STORIES. We were two artists a year or so out of high school, he a year older and just having won a contest to do new covers for the Saturday Evening Post.
His hero was Norman Rockwell, and his emulation of Rockwell's style gave him the prize: a contract with the Post. He lived in my Chicago suburb and then moved away, but close enough to go visit a few times. We lost touch as I went off to college to pursue my own path in art, but today, Sunday, January 22, 2017, I thought of him and decided to look him up online. What I found was an obituary from the Chicago Tribune.
He died fifteen years ago, in 2002, of a stroke at age 48. It also said he'd had life-long diabetes and went blind in the 70's, plus he lost a leg to it. BUT he later had surgery that restored partial sight in one eye, AND HE WENT BACK TO PAINTING.
He may have preferred to paint children on their last day of summer vacation, or a Halloween pumpkin tossed out the morning after, or even himself holding a pipe in a Rockwell pose looking in a mirror, BUT BOB, HERE IS A STORY FOR YOU.