Sunday, January 16, 2011

Iry LeJeune

Iry LeJeune
16" x 16"
 oil on wood, 2011
No matter how obscure the person I paint, I always strive to capture one's likeness in a portrait. This is usually easier when I know the person, or at least, in the case of a celebrity, seen tons of photographs. There aren't that many of Iry LeJeune on the web, and when I finally settled for one to paint, I felt it looked a lot like my friend Ed Mann. Apart from a moment very early on in the painting, it never resembled neither Ed nor Iry. It looked like a whole score of people but LeJeune's likeness was elusive. It looked like Matt Bush, another local friend for a while before it became Chelsea player John Terry and then Lance Armstrong. When it became Ed again I knew Iry wasn't far away, and then finally it was just Iry. Iry LeJeune's story is rather tragic—he died at age 26— but his music is as good as it gets, his 30 sides recorded rank among the finest in Cajun music's history. One of these, the song Donnes Moi Mon Chapeau is a personal favorite and has gathered many Top 100 points over the years. Calcasieu Waltz is a second but it is not included on Cajun's Greatest - The Definitive Collection that contains most his recordings, but I found it on YouTube. It is the newest entry for the Top 100 2010.

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