Nobody [a good friend Jim Proffit] lives forever but their memory isn’t forgotten… especially when they become part of a painting by a well known artist that is already 25+ years old.
From Tom Fritz the artist: “Iron Mongers” (oil/panel, 15″x20″). Painted in ’96. That’s me in the apron to the left and the burly gentleman in the bowler, standing proud with his thumbs in his straps is my dear friend Jim Proffit (RIP). Jim lived in a cavernous industrial facility and I dropped by one day for a visit. As things go, I saw his little 1897 Gudot twin-seater, and all at once got a jones to paint it. A huge smile came over Jim’s face when I told him, so we dressed the part with whatever was laying around (my “leather apron” was just a beach-towel), he lit his cigar, and I took my reference (tripod). Shortly after, I found myself facing a serious time-crunch needing one more piece for an important show that was happening in a few days. I grabbed a small panel and went for it, completing this work in one session. Everything you see in the background – the oil lamp, window, workbench, etc., is right out the end of the brush. I had it framed wet, hung and sold it in my exhibit at the Pebble Beach Concours with a “WET PAINT” sign on it.