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In Praise of Milford Zornes

In Praise of Milford Zornes

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January 25th will be painter Milford Zornes' 100th birthday. Zornes is famous as a watercolorist and is a member of the California School that includes Millard Sheets. Last night I went to the opening of a show of his paintings being put on in honor of his birthday.

I hadn't seen him for a year, and it was quite a shock. Now suddenly he looked old. His wife said he isn't doing well. Some days are better than others. At the reception he said he still would like to paint my portrait. He's talked about it before.

Of course, over the years he has been slowing down. He hasn't traveled as much or as far. But he has continued to paint. He has continued to give talks and do painting demonstrations. Indeed, his wife Pat said next week in Pasadena he's going to do a painting demonstration as part of a birthday celebration.

I think it was 1992 when my husband and I met him. Michael became interested in him, in his work and his life, and wanted to make a video about him. Michael completed the video in 1997 just a few months before he died. Here are the three of us at Christmas time in 1992. My husband Michael played Santa every year for the neighbor's kids. This time we were off to a party.

By the time we knew Milford he had developed macular degeneration. But he adapted and still all these years has continued to paint beautiful pictures. Here he is two years ago at one of his exhibits.

Below are pictures of paintings from the book "MILFORD ZORNES" by Gordon T. McClelland and Milford Zornes.

The year after Michael died he gave me this painting that he had made near Michael's grave.

  • Wonderful post!
    You look great, he looks great!
    And I love that Santa group picture!

    I hope he does do your portrait---with Matilda!

    • Portrait with Matilda

      That would be fun. Milford has met Matilda. I took her by their house last Christmas. At the show Saturday Pat said she wanted me to bring Matilda over to their house again so that their daughter and her husband can meet her. They'll be coming down from northern California for his birthday. Milford wants to do my portrait wearing a hat to shade my face, because he doesn't see well enough to get my features. He thinks he could get the feeling of me. Maybe I should bring a selection of hats when I go to urge him on to do the project.
  • What wonderful work! And with macular degeneration he continues to paint? What an inspiration.

    I hope to see your portrait by him, and I agree with Dinah that it would be perfect to include Matilda.
  • this alum of pamona posted this yesterday without realizing... his hero had passed... http://peterbilt-47.livejournal.com/219762.html
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