Our friend, Ken Harvey in his days as guitar player in Bobby Vee's band. Ken has a long list
of singers and musicians he's played with such as Bobby Keys (Rolling Stones) Brian Hiland, Gene Pitney , Dottie West, Kenny Rogers and a long list of others. Ken has been
coming into the gallery since we opened in 1998. Maria and I feel lucky to have Ken as a friend
and also Ken makes a mean pot of chili.....seasoned to your preference! What a guy!
Our friend, Tricia Cast, whom most everyone recognizes as "Nina" on the tv
soap opera "The Young and The Restless". I met Tricia a few years ago when
she and her husband, Bat McGrath, moved to Tennessee. They li ve right
over the hill from me on what was once part of my great great grandfather's farm.....
which can be seen in my paintings around the Allen House. They visit Lakeview
market, the little country store my cousin runs, quiet often when they are on the
farm and not filming in L.A. Bat is a great songwriter and musician with some great
hits. Tricia and Bat are great friends and have made frequent visits to our gallery
in Charlotte..........always inquiring on what I'm painting on at the time. We have a lot
in common that we both like Vanderbilt athletics and get together when we can to
catch a game live or on t.v. Tricia makes a great bowl of chili. It was funny.......one day
a couple of years back, Tricia and Bat were at the gallery when some other visitors
were there............right after they left, one lady said ......"that girl looks just like the one
who plays Nina on the Young and Restless" we got a big laugh out of that and
told the lady that it was her........she liked to have fainted!!
UPdate 5/11/2011 Just received an email from Bat..... Tricia just received an
EMMY nomination as BestSupporting Actress for her role as "Nina"
Way to go Tricia!! As Bat said ......" not bad for a Tennessee girl who grows
the best tomatoes in Cheatham County!"
I met Randy back in the late 1980's. He had bought a couple of my early prints
and I was comissioned to paint his log home which was about 10 miles from my
home in Cheatham county. He also came to Lakeview Market often and had
some country cooking. I was invited to his Christmas party where he gave me
a special edition jacket which he presented to his band and crew commemorating
his world tour. Randy is a real down to earth person and will always sit down
and talk . He sold his house in Cheatham county........but still might have some
property interest here. I know he was real proud that he had a horse he had
gotten from Roy Rogers that was a direct decendent of Trigger. He had
quiet a collection of Roy Rogers memorabilia. I also have a a couple of signed
albums he gave me which I'm quiet proud of..........one with the hit "Digging up Bones".
One of my favorites.
I met Mel in about 1985, when a former band member who had a farm nearby
wanted to show him some of my artwork. I had been painting about six years
at the time and was getting ready to set a show up at the Dillingham Gallery
in Nashville. I had taken all the paintings to the gallery and had them sitting
around on the floor ready to be hung. Knowing Mel wasn't going to be in
town long............I went back and retrieved the paintings from Dillinghams. I
took them to Mel's farm ......which was only a few miles from mine, where he was
getting ready to build a new log home. After meeting him and bringing the
paintings in............he said "I want them all". That was easy enough. I was pretty
stoked about that.........but I had to call Dillingham Gallery and tell them that
I wouldn't be bringing them back......so they had to cancel the show. Mel and his
wife Judy became good friends over the next few years. Mel comissioned me
to paint his new log home. I did this even before it was finished as he wanted it
for his open house. He told me what the windows and fence was going to look
like so I painted them in sight unseen. A couple of years later he comissioned
me to paint a portrait of Burl Ives, whom he was doing a movie with called
"Uphill All The Way". He called me at 2am in the morning and asked me what
I was doing............I told them that actually I was asleep. He then asked me if I
could come down to the house.............I replied that I would be there first thing in
morning. He said " I really need you to come now, I have something I want to show
you." So I headed to Mel's at about 2:15am. After arriving he gave me a photo
of Burl and said "Can you paint this?" I replied and said I was pretty sure that I
could. His next question "Can you paint it in four days?" I told him I would give
it my best but with no guarantees. This on an early Monday morning and they
were leaving on Thursday of the same week. I got back home around 4:00 am and
sketched it out. Not knowing if I had the likeness exactly right, I drove it down to
Lakeview Market which opened at 5:00 am , and asked my cousin, the owner, who
the sketch looked like.........he said "It's either Santa Clause or Burl Ives." that was
all I needed to hear. I went home, worked day and night and finished the painting
and had it framed by that Thursday moring. Mel was excited. It was a gift to Burl.
Burl called me a few days later and told me it was the best portrait ever done of him.
I will post the portrait of him on the site as soon as I can find a slide I took of it when
painted. All the originals except one burnt up when Mel's house caught fire and
burned to the ground a few years later. I do have a few crude photos of some of them.
Mel was a good friend and ifI needed to borrow a painting, Judy and he were always
willing to let me keep them as long as needed. When interviewed by the news right
after the fire Mel mentioned that he had managed to get two ofhis most important
possesions out.........a fiddle given to him by one of the founders of the Grand Ole
Opry and a copy of the Burl Ives painting I had given him. While visiting his home
one day, I gave Judy a copy of my latest painting which was "The Veteran". An
8 x 10 framed copy, Judy sat it on top of the refrigerator. When Mel came home
off the road in the early morning hours..........he woke Judy up saying "Is that one of
Harold's paintings?" She replied it was and I had just dropped it off that day. He
told her to "Call Harold tomorrow and buy it........don' t come home without it." Judy
did call me the next day and repeated the above. I told her it wasn't for sale as I had
just finished it and might want to show it some as I thought it was a pretty special
painting. She said "You know Mel's gonna kill me if I don't bring it home!" We got
a good laugh out of that. He bought more paintings over the years but I still have
"The Veteran" it just was'nt the time.........I knew it was my best and probably still is.
This is a portrait of Burl Ives I did for Mel Tillis back in the late 1980's.
The story of how it come about is in the above text under about Mel.
Basically I did it for Mel while he and Burl were in Texas filming the movie
"Uphill All The Way". He presented it to Burl as a gift while the filming
was in progress. I never met Burl, but he did call me soon after recieving
the painting and told me it was the best portrait ever done of him. I was
flattered. I did the painting working day and night to meet a deadline, in
four days. I don't think I've ever painted anything that quick since then.
It was just one of those paintings that everything just worked......didn't
spend a lot of time erasing and redrawing on this one. I retreived this image
from an old slide , and the only slide that exist from the painting. This in
a time before digital imaging........and for the most part, if there wasn't a
photo or slide made, I didn't keep any records of some of my earliest
The greatest thing about being an artist is all the people
I've met over the years. This is John Wayne's eldest son
Micheal. I met him at the Colors Of The Heartland art
show back in 1984, in St. Paul , Minnesota. He purchased
a print from me and when I asked him if he would mind me
getting a picture taken with him.......his reply was "Sure thing, fella"
sounded just like his dad! I felt like I was in a western movie!
Back a few years ago.......a couple walked in the gallery in
Charlotte. She introduced herself as Dee Eddy and her
husband, Duane. My head was rolling and I finally said to
her ...."There used to be a pretty good guitar player with
that name". She replied "You just shook his hand". I was
in shock............Duane Eddy had been my teenage idol since
his early days on American Bandstand. He is one of the
greatest guitar players of all times. He was inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. A lot of his songs were
used years later in the movie Forrest Gump. I wanted his
autograph so I picked up the first thing I could find which was a
pencil study of the soon to be watercolor "Apples". They
stayed an hour or two and we sat on the gallery porch in our
rockers and talked early rock and roll history and what he had
been doing in his later years. I cherish that autograph as much
as anything I own. What a day!
I am really proud of this letter from Mario Pasin, then owner of the Radio Flyer company.
You have that feeling of satisfaction when someone tells you that you've captured what
they are looking for in a painting. Mario turned the company over to his sons a few years
ago but is still inivolved in the operations. I really treasure this letter and decided to
share it on the scrapbook page. The painting he was regarding to was "Traditions".
The "Best Friend" painting he mentioned was a painting of my old Radio Special
wagon I had when I was a kid. I painted it back in the early 1980's and Leaning Tree
Greeting Card Company published it as a greeting card. Someone sent Mario a
card with that image on it and he contacted me and that's the way the updated version
called "Traditions" with their model 20 wagon came about.
Especially proud of this box of Wheaties! I had the
opportunity to paint a portrait of her son, Tyler a few
years ago. Pat is a fellow Cheatham County native
and the winningest college basketball coach of all
times . In my younger days I played a lot of basketball
with and against her brothers ......they were all great
players, too. Her brother, Tommy, was an all OVC
player at Austin Peay State University and I think
still holds the all-time rebounding record in the conference.
While looking through some old photos, I found this painting I did
back in 1978. It is one of the probably less than 20 paintings that I
do not know the whereabouts or who owns them. It was one of the
paintings that sold at the show with R.C. Gorman back in 1980. I do
believe the people who bought it lived in California. So if anyone
recognizes this painting, please get in touch....would like to hear from you.
The title of the painting was "Clinards Crib" . It was the old corn crib
on my neigbor's farm, Mr. Clinard. ....which actually was part of my
dad's old home place. It was one of the first watercolors I ever did.
To the best of my knowledge, the photo is pretty accurate in color
and is the only photo of it that I know exist. When Gorman's gallery
changed hands in the later years, the records of who bought the
paintings I sold there got lost.
Another photo I found of my old dragster "Rat Patrol" named after
the big block chevy engines which were referred to as rat motors. I fell in
love with the 427 aluminum block chevy engine that was in the Paul Newman
can-am car that I painted the numbers on.....so I purchased one for this
car, too. It was almost ready for the strip when this photo was taken.....only
a few minor additions more....such as radiator shell and parachute. Also had
a GMC 671 blower that could be added to make it run in the AA/A class.
Sure do miss those days......although the sale of it financed the first three
four-color prints of my work....so I guess it turned out for the best. Until
this day I still don't remember why I sold it other than to concentrate on
my art more.....I built the car from the ground up and it did take almost all
of my time in those years.
These are the work horses of Janice and Rose's dad, Tim. He had them
hitched under the Maple tree on our last visit there. Under the tree in the
shade lies their German shepard dog, King. Wouldn't be surprised if this
don't turn into a watercolor in the near future.! The Menonites take great
care of their farm aninmals, starting young like Janice and Rose. These
particular horses are beautiful!
Another view inside the Maria Cherry Gallery with the "Allen House"
(from the Horner Collection) hanging in the background. The painting
is about 6 ft long.......largest watercolor I ever did.