Portraits

Self Portrait on a Bench
1973 • 14 x 11

In 1973, I painted “Self Portrait on a Bench” which reflected my 22-year-old transcendental thinking. At that time, I used the same light yellow in various paintings to represent enlightenment. My works of that period are primitive (in truth, they still have a primitive quality), lack the quick strokes that later became so central to my style, and they have a more philosophical slant than the later pictures.

Self Portrait as the Patron Saint of Basketball
1997 • 16 x 20

In my portraits, I try to convey a feeling of the subject’s personality. I have had a lifelong obsession with basketball as both a fan and player; and, in 1997, I painted “Self Portrait as the Patron Saint of Basketball.” This was during a period when most of my canvases were dominated by various shades of blue, which I thought contrasted nicely here with the complimentary orange in the ball and basket—my halo.

One day, I got the urge to try a portrait using my projector technique. I asked my buddy, Ken, who is a fabulous singer and guitarist, to pose for a few photos. I think I captured his comfort with the instrument and slight discomfort at posing for the painting.

Encouraged by the results with Ken, I decided to try my hand at capturing my friend, John, a supreme guitarist who sometimes plays with Ken and even myself, from time to time. Here, he’s playing a "Silent" guitar that has a frame but no body. This portrait may not be a Rembrandt, but I think it accurately conveyed that John is quite a character.

I used the same Palette for both pictures, echoing Ken’s green shirt in John’s jade pendant and using the same orange in John’s shirt as the undercoat that is used in both paintings, which is more apparent close up.

Ken Playing Guitar
Ken Sprinkle
Oceanside, CA
2008 • 18 x 24

John Playing Guitar
John Webster
Bigfork, MT
2008 • 18 x 24

From 12 Days in Paris

Lindsey in Giverny
2012 • 11 x 14

Greg in Mirror
2012 • 16 x 20

My son, Charlie, lived on the beach during college and asked me to paint a sunset that showed the scenery from his porch. He played on UCSB’s Ulimate Frisbee team, The Black Tide, which had a logo of an oil platform off the coast. He was 21 years old at the time, and the picture hung in his living room for a couple of years, where friends could look at it and say, “Hey, that’s the same view as out there!”

Charlie’s Black Tide Sunset
Charlie Cohn
Carlsbad, CA
2005 • 40 x 30

Go Between Wins the Pacific Classic
2008 • 24 x 18

Shortly after returning from a horseback trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, I was invited by a business associate to join him in the owners box for the Pacific Classic horserace at Del Mar Racetrack close to my home in Carlsbad, CA. His horse, Go Between, won the million-dollar purse right around the time the sun was setting over the nearby Pacific Ocean. We drank champagne in the winner’s circle, and I marveled at the beauty of this thoroughbred—an entirely different species than the horses we packed into the Bob. Sadly, a few months later, Go Between broke down during a workout and was euthanized. My fleeting interest in horseracing abruptly ended.