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          |                          |
          |            #8            |
          |                          |
          |    February 23, 2002     |
          |                          |

Paintings by Harley Hahn

When I was young lad, most of my creative time
was spent playing music and writing. To be sure,
when I was a student, I did paint and draw a bit,
but I never produced much worth looking at.

Years later, in my first term of medical school,
I spent every afternoon dissecting in the anatomy
lab. I sometimes stayed afterwards to make
drawings of the dissections, just to train myself
as an artist.

Alas, that activity didn't last long. Within a few
weeks, the fears and demands of medical school had
manifested themselves with a vengeance, and there
was simply no time to even think about drawing.
Like everyone else in my class, I was completely
overwhelmed with work, and I began to spend every
spare moment studying and memorizing.

It wasn't until a few years later, when I was back
in California writing books, that I once again
thought about painting and drawing. Even so, it
happened by accident.

I had a friend who was an artist of sorts. One
day, he and I were talking, and I mentioned that I
would like to have a painting to hang in my living
room. In those days, I was a poor writer, and
there was no way I could actually afford to buy
such a painting. My friend, however, said that he
would paint one for me for free, as long as I
bought the materials.

So I bought some wood and canvas, and my friend
and I hammered together a large frame. Then, with
infinite care, we stretched and stapled the canvas
into place. The procedure took all day and, by the
time we finished, it was too late to paint.  My
friend promised to come back the next day and
start work on the painting.

Well, he never did come back. I waited and waited
and, finally, as I stood there, looking at the
paint and the brushes and the blank canvas, it
occurred to me that I could do the painting
myself. "Why not?" I asked myself.

Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, but
that has never stopped me. Somehow, I managed to
fill the canvas with paint and, although the
result was far from professional, it pleased me.
After all, I had done it myself.

Since then, I have created a number of paintings
and -- I hope -- improved my technique. For a long
time, I have wanted to show the paintings on my
Web site and now, with the help of two people, I
have been able to do it.

Not long ago, I was hiking with two friends of
mine, Helen and Paul Hansma, both of whom are
professors at the University of California at
Santa Barbara. Paul had his digital camera with
him and, as I watched him use it, it occurred to
me that, if I asked nicely, he and Helen might
take pictures of my paintings. They agreed to do
so and, a few weeks later, Helen spent a long
afternoon taking pictures of my paintings and
making sure they were perfect, for which I am

Once the pictures were taken, Brandi Valensa,
a graphics artist, worked with the raw files to
create files suitable for displaying on the Web.
She then helped me create a design which I then
used to make a small gallery on my Web site.

So, here it is, "Paintings by Harley Hahn". Take a
look and see what you think.


-- Harley Hahn