June 20, 2014 (Milwaukee, Wis.) — Local Milwaukee artist and painter Curt Crain is putting his impressions of a 1914 Stutz Bearcat on canvas. The finished 18” x 24” oil painting shows the Stutz in Veterans Park with Lake Michigan in the background.
Crain used vivid colors for the piece which will commemorate the 2014 Milwaukee Masterpiece and will be one of several priceless silent auction items at this year’s Style & Speed Social. Crain’s piece will be featured on the event’s 2014 commemorative poster as well.
Crain grew up on Milwaukee’s northwest side and was always painting or drawing as a child. He credits a “wonderful high school art program” as the foundation for his career in fine art. That was followed by additional studies at University of Wisconsin, Cardinal Stritch University, Peninsula Art School, workshops and “classes from people whose style I admire,” he said.
Like most artists, Crain has a “day job.” His day job keeps a paint brush in his hands, however, as he owns a firm that paints homes in Milwaukee’s North Shore.
Crain has applied his impressionist style to a variety of subjects including city scenes, flowers, people, waterscapes and, especially, sailboats. He is inspired by a variety of scenes from displays of fresh flowers at Sendik’s in Whitefish Bay to placid scenes of sailboats on Lake Michigan.
“Curt’s skill with city scenes and sailboats attracted us,” said Leon Flagg, chairman of The Masterpiece Ltd. “We were looking for an artist who could capture the passion of our first 10 years celebrating automotive history. I’m delighted Curt’s donated his original masterpiece to our silent auction. Someone will be a very lucky owner.”
In addition to his canvasses, Crain found success selling photographs of his work. He turned that success into a greeting card enterprise. Several local stores and a chain in Canada sell the cards.
“I can paint with a big brush and a little brush. And I don’t push the box so much. I paint things that make me feel good, but I’m not edgy. What you see is what you get,” Crain said.
The Stutz Bearcat was a well-known American sports car of the pre- and post-World War I period. Essentially, the Bearcats were a shorter (120″ wheelbase vs 130″), lighter version of the standard Stutz passenger car chassis. It was originally powered by a 390-cubic-inch, 60-horsepower straight-4 engine produced by the Wisconsin Motor Company. Common with racing and sports cars of the period, it featured minimal bodywork consisting of a “dog house” hood, open bucket seats, a tiny “monocle” windscreen in front of the driver, and a cylindrical fuel tank on a short rear deck.
Crain’s impressionist work of the Stutz will be auctioned during the Style & Speed Social presented by Lake Forest Ferrari, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. A beautiful home, with eclectic furnishings, overlooking Lake Michigan at 4668 North Lake Drive in Whitefish Bay, Wis. is the setting for this event. The Style & Speed Social, the key fundraiser for The Milwaukee Masterpiece, will benefit the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Meta House.
The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will include food, beverages, music and a silent auction. In addition to Crain, guests will include Jim Wangers, the “Godfather of the GTO,” and Angela Westmore, the designer who oversaw a five-year remodeling project that turned this home into a spectacular jewel.
The public is invited.
Thanks to Ferrari Lake Forest for their sponsorship of the 2014 Style & Speed Social.