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12 PAINTINGS
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OFFICIAL WITCH OF LA:
THE DE-SPELLING OF LA
& A POLITICAL MISHAP

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Mentor, attracted a following from around the world, due to his obvious artistic talents, but also because he had a certain indefinable charisma, that even in his death, caused a very attractive young woman, one of the mourners attending his Funeral and Wake, to announce quite audibly, "What a Hunk"

Some people liked him and some didn't. Either way the emotion was always felt strongly and was equally distributed between men and women. Since I am Mentor's widow, I have chosen to publish stories about him that are positive and that represent my views. Each Fan's Story is based upon an affection they felt for him and the admiration and respect they held for his work. The stories were written by men and women who wanted to share a personal experience they'd had with him. Some are amusing. Some are nostalgic. Some are sad.

Perhaps as time goes on I may decide to include a negative statement or two, here or there, for the sake of some literary balance. At this time though, I can't imagine what those statements might be or who it would be that could possibly express them.

Mentor was a charmer.

MENTOR
Self Portrait of Artist
Mentor Huebner (c) 1963
Oil on Canvas 30 x 24


*

LES GIRLS ~ MGM

GENE ALLEN
Film Maker

Former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Executive Director Emeritus of the Art Directors Guild
"Oscar” winner for George Cukor’s “My Fair Lady”

"An Artist of the moving image, Mentor Huebner. created on a daily basis works of fine art that rivaled Rembrandt and all his contemporaries. Directors, Cinematographers, and Production Designers all used Mentor's suggestive illustrations of the story being filmed as conceptual stimulators.

"Mentor Huebner was indeed a man for all seasons, recognized by the art world as a Master landscape and figure painter and by the entertainment world as a premier conceptual artist. His list of credits is extensive and his contribution to the total look of those productions is a matter of record. Originally, we met a Chouinard‘s Art Institute* where he was teaching. Any tribute to him would not be complete without noting his years of teaching at prestigious art schools and universities and his ability to pass on to his students the fundamentals of fine and graphic art."

“Mentor was not only good, he was fast!

"Very early in his career, when we were working at MGM, I believe it was for the film LES GIRLS, Mentor was given an assignment and told to “draw it up”. He did the conceptual drawing in about a half hour and then set it aside and waited for the next assignment. The chief draftsman came by, saw Mentor behind the sport section of the L.A. Times and rushed into my office to tell me he was going to fire Mentor if I didn't give him something to do. I went to pick up the first completed sketch and gave Mentor another assignment. I told him about the chief draftsman and warned him that he had to look busy even if he had finished the sketch. Once again he completed the illustration in record time, mounted it and set it aside, continuing to read the newspaper. The chief draftsman returned, saw Mentor behind the sport's section, rushed into my office, repeated what he had already said earlier, but this time loud enough to hear him in San Pedro and insisted upon firing Mentor! 'FIRE HIM!' "

“This continued all week. Mentor accomplished multiple, technically correct, precise, artistic very large sketches ~ daily, all the while appearing to be quite casual. Each one a gem!

"The director was sold on the ideas because of Mentor's drawings. To the chief draftsman this meant nothing! I think he may have actually even fired Mentor ~ for a few minutes! I remember, I had to go to the director, George Cukor, to get everything straightened out. Needless to say Mentor remained on the production.”

“Mentor refused to merely look busy to placate anyone. He didn’t feel his job was just to please management, or the chief draftsman. In time everyone in the industry learned to accept him, as he was, a Master Illustrator who always exactly captured the essence of the story being told with his charcoal renderings and his technical expertise. He went on to become an Icon in the Motion Picture Industry. He was admired and respected by all who came to know and work with him.”

“I saw a poem that was written by an anonymous poet many years ago in the Dear Abby column of the L.A. Times, that I think is reflects my views and is now appropriate. I feel it suits Mentor.”

“Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn's rain. When you awaken in the morning hush I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft star that shines at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.”

“Mentor was a friend. I miss him. He may have now gone on to become the ' 'thousand winds that blow', but his works will be a source of inspiration for all of us for many years to come I know he's around and always just finishing one conceptual drawing and waiting to begin another.”


* * *


(Find out more about Gene Allen in our "Featured Guests ~ Film Makers" column. See a 50 year old demonstration drawing in the section: "Mentor's Drawings". Mentor taught Life Drawing Classes at Chouinard for many years, for fun. His students ages ranged from 17 to 70. Some were novices and some were professional artists who came from the fields of fine art, commercial art, and motion picture production.)


REMEMBERING A GIANT

NORM ROSEN
An Artist


On January 17, 2006 @ 1:53:36 AM PST Norm Rosen emailed me. He had just heard of Mentor's passing. Mentor and I had not seen Norm for several years. We lost contact when Norm moved out of State. The email was typed in a script font and so it had a personalized look. The topic in the Subject Box was: REMEMBERING A GIANT.

I found Norm's email to be very sweet and touching and I want to share some excerpts.

* * *

Dear Louise:

I'm writing this to you even if its belated. I was shocked to learn of Mentor's passing. I lost my wife, my beloved Maxine, Valentines day 2004. It is almost like losing part of your body. One should never take life for granted; I'm sure you know that.

Mentor was a great artist. I was in his class in the late forties right after WWII. Life was so laid back then. Maybe it was because I hung out with artists. But there were no computers too.

I read what you wrote about the students. You were right Louise when you said after classes at Chouinard Art Institute, his students, of all ages, 17 to 70, (sometimes there would be 90 or more, at one time) ~ would when the class ended, dive into the trash cans to retrieve whatever demonstration
drawing Mentor had tossed.

I really can't express it as I would want to... but I do cherish all the memories of those days. After class, most of us guys, would either go with Mentor to the gym downtown and spar with him, or go to some club in the Westlake area to talk, politics or just bull shit!

During this period I lived at home like a nice N.Y. Jewish kid. I didn't go to the school of hard knocks that Mentor did. Or live like an artist like he did.

I tried to get into the Story-board business at the studios; but wound up as a glorified house painter; a Scenic Artist. I would sneak about the sets trying to find Mentor during lunch breaks. Its really funny how the quickly the top brass, would discover me up in one of the art department offices talking to him.

I soon found out fast that it was verboten! They didn't want him to waste a minute. He was fast though. Faster then all of the others.

In my wildest dream I never realized the depth of Mentors gift. One day in the 1950's Mentor painted a portrait of me and another fellow student. That guy was later killed in a car accident on the old 101 freeway, just past Westlake Boulevard. Not too far from where we all hung out.

Mentor was a very fast painter. I watched him as he painted my portrait in just two -- three hour sessions. I valued this painting with my very life. Mentor charged the other student and myself $35.00 each. On today's market I have no idea what his works are priced at. 1000 times that amount?

I miss all of you very much. Its funny now at 78 I've begun thinking about so many things from long ago. Oh well I guess I would like to go back in time.

Hey Woman I admire you for all your doing in memory of Mentor.

Take care of yourself and God Bless.

Fondly,

Norm Rosen

(I'm saddened to tell you that Norm Rosen died on 02/13-06. Just one month after he had sent the email. I notice it was two years to the day that his wife Maxine had died. This email was a sort of a 'goodbye'. )


*

JFK * Barry Sullivan * Mentor Huebner
President * Actor * Artist
Cousins?

NUALA CULLEN
Dublin Stage Actress

"My husband Kevin and I have many warm and loving memories of Mentor as we knew him for over 40 years. Louise and I were close and the men came to be good friends. "The Huebners gave quite a few parties. We all gave parties. And we all of us went to a lot of parties. It was the start of the Sixties. The world atmosphere was becoming electric.

"Mentor was always a lot of fun. He had an appealing personality. His social ease and his sense of devilment were notable. He was quite entertaining. He was like a stage actor.

"Back in the late fifties when John F. Kennedy was starting to run for the presidency, Mentor included us in a group he'd invited to a Democratic fund raiser. It was held in the home of the Helms family (the magna bakery people) in Los Angeles, California. "

(At that time Helm's Bakery trucks could be seen all over Los Angeles, delivering bakery products - door to door. The Antique Guild now resides in what used to be their main factory outlet on Venice Boulevard, in Culver City.)

"That night the Helm's home was crawling with celebrities -- mostly movie stars. Mentor was very comfortable in that type of an environment. After all these were his work buddies. At any rate I spotted the actor Barry Sullivan, and casually remarked to Mentor that he reminded me of a cousin of mine in Boston.

"Mentor (to tease me) called out to Barry and at the same time waved him over to our group. *

"Hey Barry, Nuala thinks you're her cousin".

"I was mortified and quickly explained that indeed he did look like a cousin who lived in Boston and my grandmother's maiden name had been Sullivan. Barry laughed and put his arm around my shoulders.

"Maybe we are cousins Nuala, Boston is my home town."

"Touche"

"They were both nice guys."

* * *


(Barry Sullivan decided to stay with the smaller more intimate group and he and Kevin and Mentor joked and laughed and exchanged Irish stories for the rest of the evening.

Although Mentor and Barry acted like long lost Buddies, they had never worked together on a film, as so many of the others at that party had. The closest contact they'd had prior to that night, was that Barry was directed by Vincent Minnelli at Warner Bros, while on the block buster film: THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, and Mentor had done conceptual drawings and designs at MGM, for the block buster film: A STAR IS BORN.

Judy Garland played the lead opposite James Mason and she was married to Vincent Minnelli. Not much of a connection between Mentor and Barry. Still...)


*

Mountain Roads - Attraction & Vibes
A Friend with Principles

DONNA SNOW
Artist - Porcelain Painter

"One of the things that always comes to my mind whenever I think about Mentor was a particular shortcut * he had recommended to me, and my second husband Sandy when we left LA to return to Chicago.

"We had been visiting Mentor and Louise for a couple of weeks. It was customary for me to always bring my husbands to meet them. We had of course all gone to Disneyland. At that time I had complained about certain rides. I never reacted well to heights, or sharp turns, etc. Mentor didn't seem to pay much attention to my screams. It could be he hadn't realized I was really frightened. He may have thought I was only affected on amusement park rides. Maybe for fun.

"At any rate I don't think he knew about how I reacted to heights and certain types of roads. So when he gave us shortcut tips about returning home, he never bothered to mention that it would go through mountains. I think it was just an oversight.

"At that time it was the middle of summer. Mentor said that in summer you had to begin the drive at night. Something or other about the desert and heat. So we began our journey in the middle of the night. Louise said that's what they always did. She said it was exhilarating to leave at 3 AM.

"As we traveled the road through darkness, late at night, I was scared sh--less.

"The road was very curvy, very high up, and from the passenger side it looked like a sheer drop to nowhere.

"Granted, it was a good shortcut, Sandy liked it, but wow, what a ride!!

"I still get scared whenever I recall it. It was a terrible experience.

"Later on, after a few years, when I visited them again, I flew in and traveled alone. When Mentor heard about my second divorce (not in anyway connected to the harrowing drive), he remarked that I'd better be careful, or else I would beat his marital record.

"Well I did, sort of. I ended up being married an equal amount of times as Mentor. (Four). But I divorced four times too. And since he stayed with Louise until the end he never got divorced more than three times. So even though we had reached a 'tie' on the marriages, I beat him at divorces!

"I had always sensed his energy. When I first met him it was obvious he had magnetism. You could 'feel' him from across the room. He had vibes. I also recognized what a private person he seemed to be. He looked very secretive despite his outgoing nature and joking around. He projected a lot of physical energy and 'felt' so powerful he scared me.

"Then again, when I once-in-a-while, wonder about the reactions I'd had, I think I may have been attracted to him. The men I'm attracted to sometimes scare me. But who knows? I never found out.

"He was after all the husband of my closest friend.

"I have principles."

***

(Donna neglected to include what Mentor had said after she complained about the shortcut. "Christ Donna, there's no way out of here except to cross those mountains. How the hell did you drive into LA in the first place?" )


*

A Man's Man
An Experienced Boxer

ARTHUR K. SNYDER
Attorney - Los Angeles City Councilman/ 20 years

"Two things that always struck me about Mentor: One is that while he was first and foremost and always an artist, he was also a man's man -- a person who brooked no nonsense from those around him, who stood up for his position intellectually, and made it very clear from his persona that he was ready to stand up physically as well. After all, while he was an artist, he was also an experienced boxer.

"And the other that illuminates his character as well, is that he only had the use of one eye, having lost the other to cancer early in his life. Yet in spite of that, a factor that cripples the ability to perceive depth, he trained himself to draw and paint depth of field in a way that is to my experienced unparalleled.

"His career in films and the bulk of his achievement in fine arts developed after the loss of his eye and he produced work notable for the very depth perception he could not see.

"He simply would not allow the loss of the eye to handicap him -- a factor that speaks reams about Mentor Huebner the man, who never would accept defeat."


***


*

Ben Hur & the Matchmakers

EDWARD SNEAD
World War 2 U.S. Navy Veteran
Foreign Department Bank of America - Retired
Controller - Retired

"........It was the Saturday evening before Easter when I turned on the TV to channel 28 PBS and noticed they were showing BEN HUR which had been given a four star rating. My wife Margot, and I remembered it as being an excellent movie and decided to watch it. It was a long film but it was worth every minute.

"The part of that film that we enjoyed most, originally, and now again, was the chariot race in the circus arena when Ben Hur was eventually pitted against Marcus Arreleus.

"I recalled Mentor had designed almost the entire film and especially that complicated chariot race*.

*( The chariot race contributed to the film winning multiple Academy Awards. Mentor had worked on the designs for the Chariot Race for around 18 months. The 'trick' was to make it exciting, allow for the spokes of the racing chariots to be slashed, so they could topple over, and see to it that no one was killed in the process. Along with Mentor accomplishing technically correct and precise action shots, his production drawings are also works of art.)

"We were also impressed with those masterful very excellent 'ancient' Roman statues designed by Mentor. They sat at each end of the arena and set the tone of the time.

"BEN HUR, the film, and the chariot race and the statues, all of which Mentor designed back in time in the 50's, brought him back to us in a flood of warm memories.

"He was a very nice guy. He was a very talented guy. He's missed. "


***

(Edward along with his first wife had been inadvertently responsible for Mentor and I meeting in the first place and consider themselves to be 'match makers'. At least Edward does. But, that's another story. )


*

"Come Home Safe Bob"
The Korean War June 1951

ROBERT UPP
Brigadier General - Retired
Judge Advocate of the State of California - Retired
Law Professor - Author

"When I got home from the funeral, I sat down, depressed and turned on the TV and the film "THE LONGEST DAY" had just started. It was a powerful coincidence.

"My wife, Jane and I had visited Mentor and Louise while Mentor had been on location in Paris when he was working on this film for 20th Century Fox and Darryl Zanuck.

"The film brought back a lot of memories.

"It seemed that during the entire week following Mentor's death, television was showing all of his most popular feature films -- one after another. Some of the films hadn't played in years. I was deeply affected.

"When I was a Major and had been given orders to go to Korea, June 1951, Mentor insisted on painting my portrait in full uniform. It was at that time that Mentor also painted a message in the corner of the portrait.

"The message now that Mentor is gone, gives me comfort.

"I find it hard to believe that I hadn't ever seen it until after he died. But, that's what happened. He'd painted it discretely with the same colors as the painting. In fact the same color upon the same color made it almost invisible. The lettering was obscured by brushstrokes.

"But, one day, just immediately after Mentor died, the Sun's rays came into the room at just the right angle and shinned on the exact spot where he had included his message. It seemed so clear that I can't understand how it could have been missed for 50 years. It means a lot to me now. Maybe even more than if I'd seen it long ago.

" 'Come home safe Bob!'

"What more can I say.....?"

***

 

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Louise Huebner. (c) 2003

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