My Prayer (46 x 61 cm)

This textured, unusual self-portrait of the artist shows him deeply meditating.

To enhance the viewing experience, the subject is positioned slightly right of centre on the canvas. The viewer’s eye is led to the artist’s closed eyes. He is deep in thought. His brow is tightened. His coloured lips are not tightly sealed, and it appears as if he may be speaking.

The width and length of his face is proportionately correct and doesn’t jar the viewer’s sense of ‘normal’. However, the nose is elongated, the nostrils widened and the neck lengthened. A tiny touch of yellow hints at ears beneath his hair.

In this painting, brushstrokes are random, and not as controlled as in I See Blue. Whilst there is some flesh colour on the face, most of the facial colours vary from tones of red and blue violet, with touches of orange, to some tinted white overlay. However, there is some blending of blue and yellow that give a thin, transparent, green effect to one side of the face. These colours add to the passionate mood of the painting. The artist has painted his hair thinner, with more grey in this painting than in other self-portraits. However, his beard remains white and balances well with the white on his clothing. The excellent brushwork on the clothing shows overlapping of short, creamy white strokes of paint, and this alludes to texture. The artist often used rich, royal, purple-red colours in his paintings. The blueish line surrounding his head highlights his hair, and different coloured hair strands are visible. The shape of the hair mass almost forms a halo when one looks at the painting from a distance.

This is a deeply sensitive painting where the artist attempted to portray his internal feelings for the viewer’s pleasure. It is one to be remembered.

Acrylic on Masonite, later career. (Cleaned and framed.)

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