Sunil’s recent post was most provocative. It’s not often that someone seeks comment about his or her self portrait. Turns out that Sunil may have opened a rich vein.

I appreciate the opportunity to witness a participant, not just through the trajectories of post and comment, but as the individual presents his or herself in an image.

In that spirit I would like to throw my mug in the ring.

Traditionally I have been the one behind the camera and only in the last number of years have I begun to consider myself as a subject in any meaningful sense. Sure, I’ve squinted and frowned in the bathroom mirror and did some charcoal sketches of myself eons ago, but no compelling reason existed to do more.

Then (drum roll) I got a digital camera and discovered the joys of distortion. Since friends and family members were likely to shy away from my shenanigans, I turned the camera on myself. For a while I found the editing capacities fascinating and created a rogue’s gallery of Jays. But the bumptious good times soon palled and I needed to get more serious. The stuff was poor caricature, but could pushing pixels around lead to something with more enduring character?

These choices were made: I would use the camera, the images would be entirely in black and white, I would put the images through one or more distorting processes and I would project and trace these images onto board or foam. I would then raise either the black or white portions to create a shallowly figured surface. Beyond that it was time to paint with no further reference to photos.


In this case I indented the facial portion and used simple silvers and blacks. Went to the Baltimore Museum of Art and ran into Andy Warhol looking like this.


In this case I discovered the power of small differences. A slight coloration around an eye socket and a modicum of dribble lent some credence to the facial expression.


Here the face was put through a squeeze function that compressed the features. More effort was made to control the painterly aspects.


Used a lot of colored varnishes in this piece.

You can do outlandish things sometimes and have a modest return for the effort. I’m wondering if this isn’t such a case. Your comments?