KALINA: A tale of two pictures

William P. Kalina
York Dispatch

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Colonial English author and cleric Charles Caleb Colton’s famous proverb might have come into play for me this past week.

When one of my favorite local artists based one of her recent works on one of my photos from a local bike repair assignment, I was delighted.

Ophelia Chambliss holds a copy of The York Dispatch with the photo she used to create the painting, background.

“I was sitting on the couch and the newspaper was laying on the table about five feet away from me,” Ophelia Chambliss said.

“I was looking at it on an angle, but what I could see were these blocks of color in the background and the patterns of the spokes and wheels — it looked like such a nice design. I wanted to re-create that,” she said.

Gung Go Bikes employees Clark Evanitus, left, and Jim Seevers work on a bikes at the shop Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. The bike shop collects donated bikes year around and refurbishes them in early December to donate to local charities in time for Christmas. Gung Ho owner Jay Zech says he expects to give away about 120 bikes this year. Bill Kalina photo

More:Gung Ho giving: Elves turn donated bikes into Christmas presents

It took her about four hours to complete the painting.

York Dispatch photographer Bill Kalina

“I had already had the image in my mind of what it was going to be, so it was just a matter of rendering it,” she said.

I learned of the painting from her Facebook post and immediately replied, “I'm honored to have such a great artist use my image!”

OPhelia Chambliss created this painting after seeing a newspaper image.

Chambliss has created works for notable York landmarks and installations throughout the region. Frankly, I like her style. Bold colors and dynamic tones. And I respect her artistic integrity.

Photojournalists can’t manipulate photos, because it would ruin our credibility. While shooting the photo, I was hoping the technician would move forward (work on that front tire) in the frame to improve the composition. Also, I’d wished the background was a bit cleaner. He didn’t and it wasn’t.

Still I thought the photo, with its concentric rings made by the bike tire rims, worked.

It was with pleasure I saw that Chambliss had artistically changed just those elements as I had wished. She made a clean, well-composed painting that completed my concept of the “perfect” image in acrylic paint on canvas. She calls it "Gung Ho" after the bike shop where I made the image.

York Dispatch photographer Bill Kalina and Ophelia Chambliss.

It was interesting talking with her about her painting, comparing her changes to my original photography.

A big painting, too! Over four feet by four feet.

It was a compliment to catch the eye of one of York’s most notable artists and inspire her vision.