Westlake artist's museum-quality portraits on display at Porter Library in March
When Bill Kufahl was a third-grade boy, he spent every spare minute sneaking in drawings of the prettier girls in his class. During the month of March, Kufahl, 68, will display the blossoming of that childhood passion. This rare showing of his paintings and drawings at Westlake Porter Public Library caps a lifelong career of painting portraits as a full-time, self-employed artist.
Although Kufahl's paintings hang in board rooms and homes throughout the United States and Canada with several also in Italy, the Czech Republic, and Luxembourg, the artist is perhaps best known for a triple tribute to Ronald Reagan that will serve as the entry piece to the Porter show.
A candid portrait of entertainer and "sausage king" Jimmy Dean – which the entertainer once referred to as "the best Christmas present I ever received" – will also figure prominently in the display. The retrospective show will include approximately 40 pieces of art dating from 1970 to 2012.
One set of paintings is particularly interesting. Kufahl portrayed a lovely young girl when she was three years old. Hanging next to this portrait is a larger painting of this child who has grown into a beautiful young woman, dressed elegantly with the Mar-a-Lago in the background.
Another portrait with a particularly interesting story is that of Judy, whom Kufahl painted in 1974. In 2012, her husband, having never seen the painting before, viewed it on Kufahl's website and returned a touching note, described the memories that flooded back to him. He called the portrait "breathtaking" and noted that the image was one that had "great power to convey [his wife's] life essence in oil."
Besides bringing joy and beauty to families, Kufahl's portraits hang at businesses and universities throughout the country. Locally, Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management displays his Bert and Iris Wolstein portrait, while the Malicky Social Science Center at Baldwin-Wallace College contains his portrait of Dr. Neal Malicky. A triple portrait of coaching great Don Shula hangs at John Carroll University.
For 25 years, Kufahl has completed family portraits for American Greetings and Carlton Cards as well as 145 oil portraits of inductees to the Women's Bowling Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas. Closer to home, thousands have seen his displays at the I-X Center's Home and Garden Shows. His painting are also readily accessible through his website, www.portraitartist-ohio.com.
Kufahl's studio has been located in Westlake for the past 27 years, where he also teaches painting and drawing classes to students of all ages. His focus is on equipping others to portray people, animals and landscapes in a realistic way. The paintings reflect his motto: "expressively realistic."
Portrait artist and teacher