One of my most memorable experiences as a portrait artist, this portrait of Buzz brings back the wonderful times we had together. Buzz was an extraordinary designer, specializing in 18th century French decor. His homes are like museums filled with historical gilded furnishings, murals and historical paintings. He died a few years back. He was well known to put on elaborate fetes, five, six course dining experiences, of gourmet delicacies, with elaborate flower arrangements and the finest silver, cut glass and priceless antique table accouterments. There was always live music (I often was asked to sing for my supper!) and warm conversation with his always fascinating guests. These were absolutely magical experiences, never stuffy or pretentious. They were sensory celebrations about being alive. I miss those days a lot.
My friendship with Buzz began in 1984 when he flew me down to Savanna to begin work on his portrait, after seeing other portraits of mine hanging in an Antebellum home he frequented. The portrait is considered iconic among my work.The strong, dashing figure of Buzz Harper with his powerful and knowing gaze, captivates the viewer immediately and leads us on a tour throughout the painting and perhaps into the heart of the man himself. This was how he first struck me when he picked me up from the airport in Savannah in his white, chauffeured Rolls Royce.
I based a character in my book, The Fishfly, loosely on him. Mysterious and full of intrigue, he was a giant in his influence over my personal trajectory and also my artistic journey.