Monday, January 9, 2012
Awkward Man Dancing 1996
This portrait is of a good friend and colleague, James Baker, who I have know for over 25 years. I first met Jim when he invited me to do a workshop at Anderson Ranch in Colorado http://www.andersonranch.org/workshops/courses/faculty_search.php . When I did this image I was trying to get at something that I knew about Jim that I don't think I could have articulated until I did the painting: Jim is a very smart and very capable man, but I think his strongest, most wonderful quality is his honesty. Truman Capote once talked about a man who was the same on the outside as he was on the inside, and that's what I always felt about Jim. The way it translated visually is that the figure has a quality of awkwardness, or goofiness, a reflection of that honesty. He is one of those people whose laugh makes you laugh because it's such an unexpected sound, loud and funny. Most of us work hard at trying to hide those parts of ourselves that are different or not acceptable. So to know someone like Jim is truly a gift.