Tuesday, June 3, 2008

lost youth almost wise but scary

I've been putting some old paintings up on Flickr.com. Many are pleasing to me and I'm happy to be seeing them again. But yesterday and today I put up ten self portraits that I painted in 1998 with the idea of the "me" in them being mostly harsh ancestors of a mostly fictional basis. These are small pieces, 10" x 8" oil on canvas and framed with wood painted red.

I've always liked these pieces, and originally there were twelve. They've been in two solo shows and usually were intriguing to people, I think, with two selling. But now, that they are up on Flickr and I am seeing them next to many beautiful "real" portraits of other people, or next to wonderful imaginary pieces of others, they look kind of appalling to me.

Not that I'm disowning them or anything......but they are mostly mean looking. There is only one that is smiling. A couple are dopey, but mostly they look like they would rip your tongue out or smash you in the nose. I was trying to be quite "tough" when I painted them under a very unflattering skylight. And I was trying to come to grips with my own advancing age and trying to own my wrinkles, sags and bags as it were. A child or young person looks sweet and so beautiful in repose, but someone older (or me anyway) can look SCARY.

So there it is. I'm actually ok with it. Maybe we need to see more of the unvarnished or un photo shopped and un masked older person. We revere very old age but that in between group needs to be accepted for the lost youth but wise almost very old people that we are.

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swamp, 55" x 29"

in progress

flying fish, 55" x 29"

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I am living and painting in the little town of Houston. A far way from my San Francisco beginnings. I paint what I see of the human condition, be it human, animal or object. The glimmer of humor, pathos, and spirit in so much of what I see is the basis of what I paint.


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