Paintings by Ethan Cranke

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Today's Alla Prima Features My Beloved Professor and Mentor Bruce McGaw

18 inches x 12 inches
Oil On Bristol Vellum
Prepped With P.V.A Size and Gesso

I remember when we first met, it was for my merit scholarship interview, in 1997. I was a young and insecure lad, who was afraid that I'd be considered a fraud; irrationally thinking that my work might not be considered valid, that I didn't deserve the title "artist." I carted my work into the room, sprawling it out on the floor and leaning it against the walls. He shook my hand, and gazed deeply. I think that we were alloted 20 mins., other kids were waiting outside. Next thing I know, we've been chatting and really hitting it off for a while, the person in charge of ushering the students came in and mentioned that other people were waiting. "Let them wait! And don't interrupt us again!" He said. We talked about art, poetry, philosophy, life, the Beats (discovering that him and my folks had been friends with the same people back in the day; e.g. Neal Cassidy (a close friend of my father's), Kesey, Ginsburg, etc.). An hour and a half later, we emerged from the room! He hugged my parents and told them that they'd raised a wonderful son. Needless to say, I was aglow. From theretoforward I swore that I would be sure to spend my life as an artist, and would never shy away from admitting to it again.


  1. Yes never shy away from it. Sometimes we think it is egotistical to call ourself an artist, but at the same time our ego is at play when we say we aren't good enough. Your mentor saw inside you and recognized the artist within. The artist isn't just about painting, but everything in its entirety that makes you who you are. All that combined reveals itself in the physical form. You are one fortunate person.

  2. Thank you for your very thoughtful and kind words. I also consider myself very fortunate to have found my calling with such clarity; many people struggle through their entire lives, wondering what it is that they're supposed to be doing. Thanks again.

  3. Hi Ethan, I just stumbled upon your post about my dad. Wonderful story. Captures Bruce to a tee. Thank you so much for sharing. --Caitlin McGaw