Marcus Larson/News-Register##Dan Homeres often paints in his home office, which he also uses when writing poetry and fiction. Zelig, a Cairn terrier-dachshund mix, is his assistant.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Dan Homeres often paints in his home office, which he also uses when writing poetry and fiction. Zelig, a Cairn terrier-dachshund mix, is his assistant.
##Among the work Dan Homeres will show at the First Presbyterian Church are paintings inspired by Third Street.
##Among the work Dan Homeres will show at the First Presbyterian Church are paintings inspired by Third Street.
##People often add shape and life to his paintings, such as this one of the McMinnville swimming pool.
##People often add shape and life to his paintings, such as this one of the McMinnville swimming pool.
By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Stopping By: 'Light is everything'

Each scoreboard features a small painting made by Dan Homeres, who spent much of his career organizing youth sports programs.

Now retired from the McMinnville Parks and Recreation Department, Homeres devotes his days to creative pursuits. But he’ll never forget his 30 years working for the city, especially the happy times he spent in Dancer Park

Putting up the scoreboard paintings is one way he leaves his mark on the park, which he calls his favorite place.

Paintings by Homeres also hang in the McMinnville Public Works office and in many other offices around town. Third Street Oil and Vinegar sponsors his shows during Art Walk the third Saturday of each month.

Found Objects and The Sage feature his paintings on display and for sale. He has shown at the McMinnville Senior Center, too.

This month, Homeres will mount a show of his watercolors in the First Presbyterian Church’s Narthex Gallery.

He will be present for the opening reception, which will run from 11:45 to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 13. The show will continue through May 15.

Among the paintings he’ll show are scenes from a trip to Italy, one from the McMinnville Farmers Market and a series of images depicting Third Street, among others.

His wife, Connie, suggested the latter. “She got me out and about,” he said. “And I loved tooling up and down Third.”

Homeres has had more time for seeking out subjects and painting since he retired three years ago. He and his former co-workers, such as former parks and rec director Galen McBee and current director Jay Pearson, remain great friends.

“You can say that Jay drove me to art,” he laughed.

Homeres moved to McMinnville in 1982, figuring Oregon would be a good place to raise children while pursuing his poetry and long-form fiction writing. The house he rented happened to belong to McBee.

The parks and rec director encouraged him to apply for a job at the community center. So he went to work with Sandy Temple, Donna Kimura and Barbara Brewer Nelson, as well as Pearson and McBee.

And he helped define his own job working with sports programs for young people.

“Jay said ‘do what you think is right,’” he recalled.

So he helped build a youth baseball program that, at its peak, served about 1,100 boys and girls. He also ran soccer and other programs.

He enjoyed working with kids and sports, he said, although he hadn’t been headed that direction when he started college.

He studied photography and other art while majoring in English, first at San Francisco State University, then at Long Beach State and finally at the University of Massachusetts.

He went on to graduate school to study air pollution control — a field in which his photography background would be useful, he said. He found work in another field, though, microelectronics.

He said he’s glad he decided to make the move from California to Oregon, where his three children went to school and played ball in McMinnville. David and Julia now live in Portland and Nick in Spokane.

“I can’t think of a luckier man than myself,” Homeres said.

“In addition to my family, I have my painting, my writing, travel ... each one is another way of expressing myself,” he said.

Homeres started painting many years ago, experimenting with colors in abstract forms.

Then he switched to photography. He concentrated on capturing light and form on black and white film.

He closed his darkroom when digital cameras became the norm and returned to exploring color through paint. He calls himself a “colorist.”

Assisted by Zelig, a Cairn terrier-dachshund mix who was named because, as a puppy, he resembled Woody Allen, Homeres takes his paints outside when he can. The back patio becomes his studio when the weather is nice. 

At night or on cold or wet days, his home office doubles as his painting studio. “If I’m doing something real big, I can work in the garage,” he said.

He also can take wet projects into his former darkroom. In addition to occasionally using the darkroom sink, he keeps painting supplies there.

“I write in the mornings and paint in the afternoons, when I’m not golfing or playing handball,” he said, noting that he always has several projects in the works.

These days, his paintings often explore architectural subjects, such as the streetscapes he captured on his trip to Italy. He said he was impressed by the colors there, golds and yellows and browns set off by black “like a 1960s Italian film.”

He still enjoys playing with color through abstracts.

Often, the abstracts become the starting point for the more detailed paintings he creates. The abstracts make a fuller, more in-depth background than plain white paper, he said.

“I rarely face a blank page,” he noted. “Maybe it’s just my work ethic — I don’t want to waste time or paper.”

He inherited that work ethic from his father, he said. Victor Homeres worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, served in the Merchant Marine in World War II, then became an auto mechanic and fender man. He was never out of work, his son said.

His father and mother, Elisa Maria Homeres, followed their son to McMinnville. They, too, loved Dancer Park and attending youth ball games, the younger Homeres said.

His mother died in 2006 and his father in 2013, just before the unveiling of a sign naming the park’s ballfields in his retiring son’s honor. But his dad knew about the honor — and about those little watercolors Homeres son posts in the park.

Just as he uses abstracts as a starting point, Homeres draws on his photography background when he studies the subjects he’ll later render in watercolor.

“Light is everything,” he said about both painting and capturing images on film.

He often photographs a subject he’s seen in order to preserve the memory when he begins to paint. But the pictures are points of reference only, he said; he’s not trying to reproduce scenes in realistic detail.

“I use photos as an inspiration,” he said. “I don’t stand on the street corner with an easel and beret.”

He said he develops painting techniques through experimentation, adding whatever works to his repertoire.

For instance, he said, he discovered a way to use what he calls “reverse painting” in his abstracts — removing some of the pigment previously laid down. And sometimes he paints as usual on the front of heavy paper, lets the color bleed through, then uses the reverse side for his canvas.

“Watercolor is pretty forgiving,” said Homeres, who occasionally uses acrylic paint and has tried, but doesn’t like, oil.

He also experimented with adding red, blue or black ink to watercolors to add definition and permanence. Now he often uses that effect in his architectural paintings.

Homeres paints buildings and building details, street scenes, nature, and the juxtoposition of the natural and man-made. Sometimes his paintings include people, but not portraits.

Rather, people become the lines and shapes in a scene, just as railings, windows and other constructions. For example, a painting of the McMinnville Farmers Market uses people’s bodies to lead the eye toward colors and other shapes.

Another scene was inspired by a staircase in Powell’s Bookstore. Looking down, the viewer sees the pattern of rectangular steps, linear railings and the square landing. Readers and buyers form a few contrasting semi-circular shapes.

Stopping By

Starla Pointer, who is convinced everyone has an interesting story to tell, has been writing the weekly “Stopping By” column since 1996.

> See her column

Before he added the people, he said, the painting seemed “rather cold.” Now it’s alive.

He has done self-portraits, as well, but only two. In both, he’s an incidental face in a crowd.

Homeres depicts people in a different way in the cartoons he’s been drawing for four decades. The cartoons of Clam Man and other characters are absurd, he said.

“They were never meant to be understood,” he said. “They were just meant to crack people up.”

He likes to amuse his friends and coworkers, as well as himself. His fiction — he’s finished several novels, including “Dog Falling and Sub Rosa” — puts the humor to a test: Would his college roommate laugh? If the answer is yes, he knows he’s succeeded.

“I write to please my roommate and about three others,” he said.

In contrast, he said, “I usually paint for myself.”

If you go 

What: Showing of paintings by Dan Homeres

Where: Narthex Gallery in the First Presbyterian Church, Second and Davis, McMinnville

When: March 13 to May 15, gallery open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and the third Saturday of each month

More information: 503-472-6256

Extra: Homeres will be on hand for the opening reception, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, March 13



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