Being painted on canvas

Experience is unlike any other as artist brings subject to life



Henry Stinson, an art teacher at Colfax High School, does a live portrait painting of reporter Chloe Grundmeier as she takes notes at Neill Public Library during the Pullman Artwalk on May 19.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Pullman ArtWalk is a place for local artists to share their talent with the community. For some artists, the finished product isn’t the artwork and the process of creating the piece is.

For these artists, it can be difficult to showcase their art just by putting a few of their pieces up on the wall.

Henry Stinson teaches art at Colfax High School and is one of these artists. He wanted to showcase the process he goes through when creating a piece of art.

In the Neill Public Library, Stinson set up his oil paint pallet and his hand-stretched canvas to display his work in the best way he saw fit.

A chair was positioned in front of him, and as I walked in I was instructed to sit. And thus, the most nerve-wracking and awesome hour of my life ensued.

I’d never been painted before, let alone by someone of Stinson’s talent.

I was told my painting started as a few squares of blue and pink. The members of the small audience sat in awe as the blobs of color became a person — me.

During the session, Stinson talked about his painting style and why he paints what he does.

“I like to have a dialogue with the person I’m painting, silence unnerves me,” Stinson said. “Plus, I can get more of their facial expressions and understand who the person really is. I always try to paint beyond the face and the painting won’t ever turn out if they suck on the inside.”

In his work, Stinson digs to find and show the deeper meanings behind the object or the person.

“I like to suck people in with the color,” he said, “and then when they really look they see the dark, sarcastic side of my work.”

During his process, Stinson rarely lets his subjects see the piece before it’s complete. This is because most of his paintings go through “ugly stages,” he said.

“I like my art to look effortless, but it always goes through a lot of stages,” Stinson said. “Each painting looks wildly different at the beginning than the end.”

Stinson sees a painting as complete when he’s bored of working on it.

“I love the energy of the start of a painting,” he said. “I don’t like to spend a lot of time on anything and I don’t like to labor over my art.”