Gary Ewing Panel

I am working on a 4’x6′ panel, which will be in the new Crystal Hotel dining room and is a tribute to Gary Ewing, a figure well known in some circles for his psychedelic light shows.  He was born and raised here in Portland, went to San Francisco in the heyday ofPsychedelia, that being the late 1960’s.He created light shows at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom, Straight Theater, the city’s Trip Festival, and much, much more. He also called himself Dr. P.H.Martin. Upon returning to Portland, he was associated with the Family Dog promotion group, and did a lot of light shows at the Crystal, and other venues here in Portland for groups they were promoting, among whom were The Grateful Dead, the Fugs, and the P.H.Phactor Jug Band.

To me, this tribute piece is about Gary and light. Because I am a painter and work in a grosser substance, it’s a challenge to portray light. But, that was his creative gift.  He strived for what he called, “Harmonic Totality”, which must have been a mixture of music, light, movement, and positive vibes that reached a form of ecstasy.  Sounds like fun.

Luckily, he was visiting the Crystal several years ago when we were engaged in some repair work, and he graciously allowed me to photograph him.  I have used that photo as a reference for a portrait in this piece.

Anyway, I am very happy to be paying some tribute to this man who played such a big role in the music, performance and creative life of Portland.



  1. Gary DeTray on June 9, 2019 at 8:20 am

    I am looking at the art this morning found this explanation. Truly a fantastical piece.

  2. Larry Miller on February 19, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    Have you ever seen one of the posters Gary drew for family dog at the crystal?…the story i’ve heard is that Gary drew it in the early 90’s for some sort of promotion about the crystal…..i have one.

  3. Kristy Bain on June 13, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    Looking at your wonderful tribute as I type this! I will definitely enjoy looking up more on him!

  4. Joan Marie on September 2, 2023 at 10:42 pm

    A fantastic personal memory of spending time with Gary in a dark, abandoned PDX theatre with overhead, oil and ink.

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