Marriage of Convenience

Starring Jane Seymour, James Brolin, Kari Matchett, Lorena Gale, and Shirley Knight. Directed by James Keach. 1998.

The year was 1998 and Jane Seymour and James Brolin were starring in a movie, Marriage of Convenience, which was being shot in Winnipeg. There was a portrait of James Brolin that had been painted by an artist hired by the film company. As it turns out the producer and director were very disappointed in the result and needed, at the last minute, someone to repaint this portrait as a rescue mission. My good friend was working in the art department. He called me and asked if I could come to his studio that night and paint the head and hands of James Brolin – he had already taken care of the horse and landscape. He was a friend. What could I say but yes … especially when the fee included free beer (how can you beat that) and food.

It was a quick project painted in oil. The art director arrived at one point to see how things were coming along. I didn’t have the eyes painted at that time so I quickly dotted them in. His comment was “the eyes needed work.” Not bad since the painting had to be a true representation of Brolin because it appears in a pivotal point of the movie where Brolin recognizes himself in the painting and enters the gallery to see where the painting came from and meets Jane Seymour’s character.

Interestingly, I found out later that Joan Carson (Johnny’s former wife) was the producer of the film and she took the painting back home with her after the end of the film. Brolin and Barbra Streisand were married on June 14th of that same year. Could Joan Carson have been packing their wedding gift home from Winnipeg? That makes sense to me. Neither my friend or I ever signed our names to the painting so it is a portrait by the “Unknown Artist.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *