A couple of days ago I painted a portrait of Mike, my older brother. Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. I borrowed from the artwork of Alexej von Jawlensky and his fantastic fauvist-colored portraits to add a sense of other-reality to my portrayal of Mike. Yesterday, I painted a self portrait in the same style.
The catalog for the exhibit ‘Picasso and Portraiture‘ traces the development of portraiture through the history of art. After the advent of photography, patrons were less reliant on painters to render faithful likenesses. This gave them more freedom to express their own vision. William Rubin states, “The figures in Picasso’s pictures were often expressions of his own persona, or were invested with literal and/or symbolic references to members of his different entourages.” (‘Reflections on Picasso and Portraiture’ by William Rubin, in Exhibit Catalog: Picasso and Portraiture pg 22).
Today’s watercolor experiment:
I wanted to see what would happen if I could construct a likeness that melds some of my qualities with some of Mike’s.
I’m not sure why I never thought of this before. Perhaps it was a bit scary. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that some residents of Mike’s group home remarked about how closely we resemble each other. I thought they were joking. I have certainly considered that, as Mike’s brother, my DNA is very close to his.