For A Fallen Hero... by Jen Bissu

I had the privilege this past Saturday to give a gift to a noble group of heroes.

It was a gift several months in the making. It was a gift to honor a forgotten hero who was recently remembered.

Now he will always be remembered. He has gained earthly immortality.

And I thank the men and women who gave me the opportunity to do this. I’m better for it...

 Descendants of Firefighter Robert Hamilton unveil Jen Bissu's oil portrait of him at the ceremony.

Descendants of Firefighter Robert Hamilton unveil Jen Bissu's oil portrait of him at the ceremony.

The group of heroes is the Kearny Fire Department, who bravely serve the community of Kearny, NJ. The remembered hero is Robert Hamilton, a firefighter who fell in the line of duty protecting Kearny exactly 77 years before, braving the front lines against a massive brush fire.

A class of firefighters found an old article in an old newspaper. The picture was faded and difficult to make out. The article was brief. Too brief. Especially for a man who gave his life to protect so many.

A dedication was announced, I caught wind of it, and I was moved to offer something from my brush. The company was glad to hear my offer, thank goodness. And so, my fallen muse inspired me to recreate his visage as best as I could.

 Artist Jen Bissu with her oil portrait of fallen hero, Firefighter Robert Hamilton, at the dedication ceremony. 

Artist Jen Bissu with her oil portrait of fallen hero, Firefighter Robert Hamilton, at the dedication ceremony. 

Over the course of several months, I came to know his every line, the crook of his smile, the twinkle in his eyes. I pictured him scratching the side of his nose, laughing heartily, perhaps talking in a bit of a gruff-like tone. What would a veteran of the Spanish-American War and the Great War think at a time of such crisis? How would an Irish immigrant pass his time before the alarm sounded? What kind of a home did he leave behind when he kissed his loving wife for the last time?

For, there is more than a moment in a picture. Much more. There’s a whole story to be worked out. A whole life that has been lived before, during, and after. The trick, you see, is to take that moment and to capture that life, to fill the canvas with it—all the events, all the emotions, all the thoughts, all the deeds.

A man of yesteryear, I conveyed him in blacks, whites, and greys. I added a bit of grit. I dabbed a bit of shine. I smoothed some of those lines, and I restored the vitality a man of his bearing would have possessed. He was jolly and serious when either was needed. He was a man of the world, of this world, and he had experienced the exuberance of matrimony, the satisfaction of achievements, the sadness of regrets, and the horrors of war. A life fully filled.

In that fire station Saturday, surrounded by engines and firefighters and reporters and the community’s—Robert’s community’s—elected leaders, and his family, I felt like a part of something big, bigger than myself. Something that’s transcended time.

On that frigid, windy Saturday afternoon, every brushstroke, every line laid, every angle contemplated, every minute spent, was worth it—for Robert, for Robert’s family, for Robert’s comrades, for Robert’s company, for Robert’s Kearny.

Well worth it.        


- Jen Bissu

 Jen Bissu's oil portrait of fallen hero, Firefighter Robert Hamilton.

Jen Bissu's oil portrait of fallen hero, Firefighter Robert Hamilton.

 

 

Pocono Art Festival showing by Jen Bissu

My painting “Sunny’s”, of the legendary Red Hook Brooklyn bar, has been accepted into the Pocono Arts juried show and is on display at Artspace Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA. Saturday May 20 is the big townwide art festival, Art on Main, from 12 noon to 5pm, followed by the artists’s opening reception at Artspace is from 5pm to 8pm. I’ll be there, stop by if you’re in the area. Also, I’ve gotten a batch of prints made for the occasion. Use this link if you’d like one: https://www.paypal.me/JenBissu/30 - please specify “Sunny’s”.

Jen Bissu in The New York Optimist Magazine by Jen Bissu

We at Jen Bissu Fine Art are very pleased to announce that Jen's paintings are featured in the current issue of The New York Optimist weekly online magazine. It is an honor to share the spotlight alongside some other truly wonderful artists, such as Sharon Sprung, Alexandra Pacula, Jennifer Balkan, and many others. Please check it out. Sharing is appreciated. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE NEW YORK OPTIMIST FEATURE

Warmest wishes and best regards,

The Staff of Jen Bissu Fine Art 

Show Announcement by Jen Bissu

 Solitude, oil on panel

Solitude, oil on panel

It is with utmost pleasure that we at Jen Bissu Fine Art announce the latest gallery showing for one of Ms. Bissu's fine art pieces. Her most recent work, "Solitude," has been chosen by juried selection to hang in the historic, famed Salmagundi Club, located in the heart of downtown Manhattan. 

"Solitude" will be making its first public appearance in the Salmagundi Club's "Annual Juried Painting & Sculpture Exhibition for Non-Members". You will find the desolate expression of the Lonely Lady staring at you in the Club's Main Gallery July 28th-August 8th. This exhibition will be open to the public 1-6pm Monday-Friday and 1-5pm Saturday and Sunday.

The Salmagundi Club--founded in 1871 in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NYC--has been at its 47 Fifth Ave. townhouse location since 1917. The Club's building is a national historical landmark, and the Club has had many arts eminences among its almost 150 year old roster.

We hope to see you enjoying "Solitude" alongside the exhibition's other chosen pieces. We are certain you'll cherish this memorable experience.

Warmest wishes and best regards,
The Staff of Jen Bissu Fine Art

More good things to come by Jen Bissu

Midnight-by-Jen-Bissu

Jen Bissu is currently working day and night on her exciting new series. Her latest painting, "Midnight"--pictured above--illustrates her new content.

Consequently, we at Jen Bissu Fine Art have not scheduled any upcoming exhibitions of Ms. Bissu's works through year's end, as The Artist devotes her time to the easel uninterrupted. 

Stay tuned for notifications to see her new works' unveilings. In the interim, The Artist herself will provide insight and observations from time to time regarding Art, hers and otherwise. Enjoy following Ms. Bissu through various social media outlets at your leisure, and we encourage future visits here at her official website.

Warmest wishes and best regards,

The Staff of Jen Bissu Fine Art