McMenamins St. Francis Interiors 2017 — photo 20 of 62: “Ruby’s Mirror” by McMenamins artist Cleo Hehn is one of many works of art gracing the walls of their Old St. Francis School in downtown Bend, Oregon. May 2017. About this painting Cleo wrote:
Deep in the underbelly of the Crystal Hotel dwells a dark mosaic door, a portal between basements that writhes and twists in the lantern light. This mysterious portal, crafted in 2011 by artist Charles Lucas, inspired me to paint “Ruby’s Mirror” and to contemplate the magic invoked by McMenamins art. Whereas many McMenamins paintings create otherworldly scenes in two dimensions, the mosaics by Lucas and other mosaic artists like Andrea Perrigo-Langen and Jeanne Ralston (all three of whom are pictured on Ruby’s desk), alter the three-dimensional spaces in which they can be found. Like Alice’s storybook Looking Glass, “Ruby’s Mirror” acts as a window or door, blurring the lines between the real and the magical, until the mosaic has taken over the entire painting and even Ruby herself.Camera used: Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
I selected Ruby as the central figure in homage to her creator, McMenamins artist Lyle Hehn, who is my uncle. After a childhood of encouragement in the arts by Lyle and by my father Paul, a former McMenamins general manager, I am grateful to now be a part of the McMenamins artist family. I also chose to paint Ruby because she is a strong female character, and I used a photo of myself as a model for her figure, fusing self-portrait with a depiction of this McMenamins icon. Beginning with a black ground, I painted “Ruby’s Mirror” by working from dark to light, a technique learned from McMenamins artist Jenny Joyce, who has been my coach, mentor, and friend throughout this process. Like the tentacled mirror on Ruby’s desk, this painting took on a life of its own, and though it presented me with many challenges it has become an expression of my personal sense of magic entwined with the surreal world of art at McMenamins.
For further details about the story behind this photo, see the related article My Pilgrimage to McMenamins St. Francis.