• Early Morning Collaboration with Dan Riordan

    Tamara and Dan: Sharing a Vision of Early Morning
    Dan Riordan, photographer
    Tamara Brantmeier, painter

    In October 2015 Dan was diagnosed with one year to live. He decided to take on a 366 Project, posting one photo a day for a year. He set up some simple limitations for this daily ritual, using his iPhone 6 and taking photos of what he could see in or from his yard or along one of the three routes he took each morning to buy the morning newspaper. He posted every morning and posted one selection daily.

    In July Tamara contacted Dan to ask if he were interested in collaborating. Together they chose photos that Dan would display and that Tamara would render in oil paintings. Tamara created some small 6”x6” studies to get an idea of how the imagery translated into paint. Decisions were made in early October, when the paintings were begun in earnest. You see the results on the walls around you.

    For Dan the overall project affected him in a number of ways. He realized that the restricted locales made him notice things differently. He “saw” more, patterns, in clouds, in fields, even in flocks of birds. In addition over the year he realized that he was rendering the morning, attempting to create a sense of how this particular morning felt. He was surprised to learn that people began to see a spiritual dimension in the photos—the hand of God, a meditative connection, a deeper connection to nature. Humbled by these reactions, he is happy he can serve his audience in this fashion. The collaboration with Tamara opened a completely new experience of having another artist interpret his work. The results are thrilling.

    For Tamara, the project created challenges as well as opportunities. It felt wonderful to paint with intention and meaning – it felt meaningful to be accountable to Dan’s vision and to humbly expand upon it. Working from someone else’s compositional choices was at first restrictive – she wanted to do right by the photographs. Quickly she realized that ‘doing right’ by Dan’s images meant painting authentically and with her own voice. Some paintings became more representational while some have abstract qualities as she considered light, color and space. The results demonstrate the beauty of the ordinary, the splendor of our immediate surroundings. -January 2017


    Dan died at the end of April, 2017. I am among many who will deeply miss him.