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"Looking Back" - A self-portrait
This painting began as a self-portrait. Almost every artist does at least one self-portrait for one reason or another. And if you draw many faces, it's difficult not to draw the one you see the most, every day in the mirror.
In 1986, I ran across my old high school yearbook photo and reflected on how much I had changed. I decided to do the missing person thing and try aging my high school photograph and see if I ended up with a picture of me as I appeared in the present. I first sketched my high school photo on the canvas. I noted the placement of cheekbones, eyes, nose, etc.
Then I added a little weight, wrinkles, nose length, gravity effects, and hair loss. It was an interesting experiment and it was somewhat successful, but one thing kept creeping into my mind. I was surprised how feminine I seemed to look and I couldn't figure out what was causing it.
Was it my cheekbone placement? Chin? Eyebrows? Mouth? I decided to tilt my head and look at the painting in a different perspective. I looked even more feminine. Since I was dissatisfied with the direction of the self-portrait, and I was working on a series of paintings that examined feminine curves, I added long hair to the portrait and delved into the realm of color.
Above, just for reference, the picture above shows me in 1959, the "Looking Back" painting (also in black and white, and rotated to vertical), and ,a photo of me taken in 1986.
I also decided I didn't like my nose and small chin, so I elongated both. After that adjustment, I removed the bags under my eyes and pulled the bottom eye lids down. Obviously, the self-portrait was long destroyed and now the painting was taking on a new life.
The picture above is a close-up cropping of the painting.
The picture below is a cropped and rotated portion of the painting. When turned vertical it's more obvious that I have further adjusted various anatomical features (eyes, nose, cheekbones, mouth) in my study.
The eyes really are mine with enhancements to present them to the world as I envision them. Yes, that means that they are imaginary.
Belrow - A detail to show the the curves in the hair.
Belrow - A detail to show the layers of paint
Below - high resolution final Below - low resolution final