Today, I added my self portrait to the imaginary brother I have been experimenting with for the past few days, based on inspiration from Willem de Kooning (Imaginary Brother – New Ideas, So Simple, and Yet…, Imaginary Hug, with Feeling. Tri-Cyclopean Portrait).
I think I was spoiled by using oil paints on my last portrait. Compared with watercolors, the oils were bold; they added a third dimension to the painting and they were opaque. I could paint white, and it would stay white unlike watercolor white, which would be absorbed by the colors beneath it.
I returned to watercolors today. For boldness, I added charcoal outlines to the portraits.
As in Tri-Cyclopean Portrait, I took the left half of Mike’s face from a family snapshot of my older brother. The right side of his face came from my imagination. I tried to get a proud, older brother look as I made him gaze in my direction. (Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. He lives in a geriatric group home now.) I’ve always wanted him to pay attention to me. He does now, in this picture. I hope he would be proud of my efforts to reach him.