HINGE - A portrait for the British National Portrait Competition

Inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s annual portrait painting competition, I began a self portrait on canvas based on a self portrait that I did on watercolor paper a month or so ago. The peculiar “hinge” from my garage door, is what inspired this self portrait.

I didn’t actually submit it this year, as it’s the most prestigious portrait competition on earth, but one day, if I exceed my expectations, if I can spend at least 100 hours on the painting, I just might. Regardless, I’ve begun another self portrait.

Rooftop Studio/Refuge

A pretty awful scene. A music stand for my reference image/iPad, a rickety and quickly made easel – made from scraps I found in the garage. My trash can has a warped piece of plywood holding my paints, brushes and beers… The great thing is the window that opens out to my flat roof that is bigger than the “studio”. The unimaginable view, the air, the peace. You must see it to believe it. An hour outside on the roof and I’m energized for the night. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

The portrait that has inspired me. “Hinge”, from September 2019. Acrylic and pencil and charcoal on a sheet of watercolor paper. It was 18″ x 24″ paper but I cut some of the “too much hair” off the top. 

I paint upside down when I’m referencing another image. I flip the canvas back and forth constantly, upside down, then right side up and often turn the reference image away so I can paint a new work rather than copy it. I don’t have a problem copying it, it’s just exciting to try something new.

One really good night of work ends up looking funny the next day. Tonight’s layers will make tomorrow’s work more interesting.

After a good 20 years of having a spacious 2,000 sq ft studio space, I’m trying to acclimate to a small bedroom as a studio. As a result my canvases are smaller and my lack of wall space makes it a big challenge. Pictured here is a self portrait in red from my recent “Fifty” series of portraits. The amazing blue portrait is from one of my favorite Tampa artists, Giancarlo Rendina. It’s only been there for a few days, as I’m making a space in my “new” studio for this favorite portrait of his. 

This is a bit of a transformation from the previous state. I decided to exaggerate some features and keep it rather painterly, but somewhat realistic. I reluctantly added the grey whiskers to the beard and added another layer of finger-painting swirls to the shirt.

It’s at this exact moment that I actually like the painting.