Ivaan Kotulsky left the planet on 6 December 2008, but so much of him remains here on earth - his art, his humour, his photographs, his huge personality, his generous heart, his optimistic spirit, his boundless love, together with our memories of him - that this blog is a virtual Museum of Ivaan.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
DANIEL P. IZZARD: Timing Is Everything
IVAAN KOTULSKY (2002)
LEMON FESTIVAL (2009)
SOUPE DE POISSON FOR DINNER (1999)
I often wonder how many of the decisions we make are based on reason, how many are based on emotion, and how many are the result of listening to that little voice that exists just below our consciousness. I've often told the story of the first time I saw the paintings of Ivaan's friend and fellow artist, Danny Izzard. In his younger days, Danny was an award-winning art director in the film and commercial industry, but his true passion was painting. He came by his vocation honestly: his father, the late Daniel J. Izzard, was a renowned landscape artist. In the mid-1990s, Danny left the film industry and devoted himself to painting full time. In about 1998, Ivaan and I attended the opening of a solo exhibition of Danny's paintings at a gallery on Parliament Street.
We walked into the gallery. I glanced at the paintings on the walls and I was seized with one of the Seven Deadly Sins: covetousness. I wanted some of those paintings so badly, it hurt. It must have shown on my face, because within a few months, Ivaan suggested we buy a Daniel Izzard painting. We bought one of his Venice series, and spent our next vacation scouring Venice (in vain) for the exact location of our painting.
When we returned, we decided to buy another painting. This time we chose a massive canvas painted in Corsica, entitled Soupe de Poisson for Dinner (see above). Ten years later, it still takes my breath away.
In August 2002, that little voice that speaks neither with reason nor with emotion whispered to me that I should ask Danny to paint a portrait of Ivaan. Bless his heart, Danny said he'd love to, and the topmost painting (above) is the result. We unveiled it at a fabulous party in honour of Ivaan's birthday in October that year. Two months later, Ivaan suffered a debilitating stroke, the second in a series of five. He was still the gorgeous guy in the painting, but he was never again able to cross his arms like this. Every time I look at this painting, I am reminded that indeed, timing is everything.
Over the years, we collected eight paintings of Danny's, and often joked that we should name our house Gallery Izzard. My latest acquisition, Lemon Festival (above, centre) was a Valentine's Day present to myself three months after Ivaan's death. I like to think it's a Valentine's gift from Ivaan, because if he'd lived to see the painting, he'd surely have fallen in love with it too.
If you've ever wanted to give someone (or yourself) a really special gift, I can tell you without hesitation that a portrait of someone you love is a brilliant idea. But timing is everything. I am so glad I listened to that little voice in my head. Thank you, Danny.
If you want to see more of Danny's work, visit his website at izzardfineart.com or the gallery that carries his work, Harbour Gallery, down on the Lakeshore in Mississauga.