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and his time these days is spent putting the fin- ishing touches on those works. INVENTIVE SPIRIT Possessed of an ever-curious mind, Jesse Corsaut is also an inventor. "When I was young, before I really fell in love with art, I thought I wanted to be a scientist, or maybe and astronomer," he recalls. The young Kansan and his pals experimented with rockets and rocket fuels at one point and as a teenager, he taught himself to grind telescope lenses. In fact, one of those scopes today sits in a place of honor inside his front door. "My great-grandfather came to California as a 49er, so gold mining is in my blood," Corsaut says. "I traveled to the Gold Countr y occasionally to prospect. A buddy was searching for nuggets in creeks using scuba gear. Corsaut's inventor mind saw a better way. "I invented a gold dredge, but didn't patent it. Pretty soon, people copied me and they're still using them today." As with his articulated figures, some of his inventions are in the field of art. For centuries, the secrets of the paints used by the Old Masters have been lost to time. It's something Corsaut has thought about for many decades. "Volumes have been written about what kind of paints they used, but nothing seemed to work right," he says. The answer, it turned out, was hiding in plain sight, in an old book. A stu- dent gave him "Rembrandt: The Painter and his Work," and that, combined with the results of scientific testing undertaken in London, pointed the way. "I realized that he was using a gel-like paint," he explains. He found a recipe that contained lin- seed oil and "calcined lamb's bone"—calcium oxide. After heating the two materials to around 500 degrees, the mixture cooled to a gel. "It was perfect. I could paint twice as fast with it. It handles far better than regular oil paint." I feel that I've finally hit on the right thing—maybe not the method, but certainly one of them." Jesse Corsaut has led a long and productive life, producing a body of work that would be the envy of any professional artist. He calculates that he's produced hundreds of portraits. Those paintings are luminous, imbued not only with the virtuoso technique of a master of his craft, but also with the spirit and soul of his subject. With the advent of inexpensive photography over the last century or so, the tradition of hand-painted portraits has lost its luster. We're lucky to have an artist in our midst who has kept the form alive. C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 6 209 Corsaut became interested in sculpture in the late 1970s and proved remarkably adept at the discipline. "I had no training," he says, "but it came to me easily." Above are just a few of the pieces scattered throughout his home. Corsaut began painting while in the fifth grade in his hometown of Hutchison, Kansas.

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