58 x 43cm
23" x 17", acrylic, 1999

I did this painting right after "Maman". Since my mother's painting was a highly personal and emotional experience for me, I was reluctant to start another one so soon. I thought I would have difficulty getting motivated for this one. I was wrong. I forgot that it is the creative process behind a painting that motivates me. If a painting has added personal significance, that is fine, but it is not the defining factor.

I had intentions of doing a painting of Claus well before completing the one with my mother. A son of Canadian immigrants of the early 60's, his parents passed on to him the German language and traditions. One day, he came to work in this beige turtleneck sweater and the painting immediately became etched in my mind. You could swear that he had just come in from an excursion in the Alps!

This painting has similarities to "Portrait of Dave". They are both straightforward portraitures where the clothing plays a significant role in capturing the essence of the person. Painting the sweater was a delicate and painstaking process. It was like creating sand patterns in a japanese zen garden, only more laborious and tedious. The unique sweater design reveals the shape of his torso and biceps. In addition, the beige tones and white highlights give the sweater a marble-like statuesque feel to it. I think if Michelangelo was living today, he would be sculpting a statue of Claus!

The ephemeral nature of life is the reason I paint certain images. People and things come and go so fast and Claus is no exception. Born in Montreal, he has travelled across Canada and Europe. He has worked in many fields including one as a hockey player in Germany. He is presently living in the Maritimes with his wife and daughter. In the few years that I got to know him at work, I never saw him step out of line with anyone. Truly a class act.