Under my figurative paintings, this is named "Gerard", but originally its title was what you see above. The story behind this is rather interesting. I had gone up to Panama City in 2005 to do a tent show, something I experimented with in my early exhibitions. Quite a bit of fun but very strenuous. The whole thing was a family effort.
We arrived early Friday night to set up, and while doing so, there was this homeless man sitting on a bench watching the whole process. Obviously, it was where he had spent the night, and by the way he was dressed it appeared he was a war veteran (perhaps Vietnam) and rather unkempt. What struck me immediately was that as this whole affair was unfolding, he just watched calmly with the most sensitive face and the bluest of eyes. He truly seemed engaged in what was going on. I remember to this day exchanging smiles with him. As the time got closer to the opening of the show, he was politely (I hope) escorted from the scene, and it stayed that way until the show was over. I often looked for him but it wasn't until Sunday night when we were packing up that I saw him return, right to the same bench. Again, he looked over with interest. I knew at this time that I wanted to paint him because I saw something so ethereal and gentle in his demeanor. There really was no guise or bitterness...this after being ecorted from the park for this "high class" affair (call it what you will).
After I got up the courage to approach him and ask him for his picture, I was once again drawn into the depth of his blue eyes and his easy smile. How could I not ask to paint him? Surprisingly - but why should I be surprised really? - he was eager to have his picture taken and seemed quite honored. This was a painting that so touched my heart I was able to complete it very quickly; and to this day, I can't think of one way I would change it.
Charcoal Study of Gerard
I drew this preliminary sketch of Gerard before painting. A friend from Austrailia liked it so much, it is now in his collection. He thought it was the better of the two. I don't know that I agree with him but would love to hear your thoughts.