So Many Self-Portraits
I think Rembrandt may have inspired it. I had already completed a few self-portraits in high school, and Rembrandt might have fueled the penchant by the time I got to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). There is pragmatism over aesthetics: being a poor art student, my face was readily available for experimentation with palettes, different mediums, supports, etc. In fact, most of the early self-portraits are just that, studies - with prismatic palette, earth palette, various techniques, one with Raeburn’s palette, and searching around for the right materials. Only a few were finished self- portraits in the usual sense.
Most were kept in a cardboard box next to the wood stove in my studio. Looking at them one day, I might have felt guilty about getting older and being nostalgic, or it might have been a somber rainy day, or a combination of both, but that day they seemed to symbolize my life in art. At any rate, they made themselves self-conscious. I see how they unknowingly might have become a life-long project by varying the poses. The mostly mug-shot poses have a certain innocent honesty to them, and they unpretentiously reflect the aura of time.
The three recent portraits keep up with the same motivations of experimentation with a readily available mug. I am locked into this now. I will continue portraits in one way or another, sketch or finished work.
I offer this tidy explanation of so many self-portraits so that it does not seem like such an outward narcissism. I can’t deny there might be some inward narcissism, but I hope no more then a pinch of salt to influence the flavor.