I must take a break from the portraits of Mike, my older brother (All Feelings are OK, Abstract Portrait, Young Mike, In Transition, Final Transition, Final Portrait). Mike is autistic, low functioning and has never spoken. We grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, when autism was relatively unknown. Mike is now in a geriatric group home where he is finally getting high quality care. I am in my 60s and Mike is still a major influence in my life even though (or maybe because) he has been utterly unreachable. Revisiting my attempts at communicating with him often takes a toll on me.
Today’s watercolor experiment:
Although I have reached my limit in painting portraits of Mike, the fact that I paint from memory or old photographs and that he is not capable of critique makes it easier for me to proceed. It is a different story when painting a portrait of a live person: plein air, so to speak.
I tried to solve this issue in my portrait of William today, by choosing one of his features to emphasize. Since Will is not yet three years old, his head is little-boy shaped. This is what I tried to abstract in the portrait below.
Will loves my glasses. He took them from me when I was holding him and put them on his own face. He tried to do this last time we were here, but was much more successful this time. He was so happy. I love to see him smile.