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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 H.S. 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 explored feminine curves, I added long hair to the portrait and explored the realm of color.

When I showed this painting at a gallery in Palm Springs, California, a famous Hollywood personality said, "This is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. You have to tell me who she is!" I didn't.

Just for reference, the picture above shows me in 1959, the painting (also in black and white), and a photo of me taken in 1986.

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 anatomical features (eyes, nose, cheekbones, mouth) in my study.