Thursday, January 12, 2012

Self-Portrait from an Earlier Life

Self-Portrait From an Earlier Life, Acrylic, 24 x 30 inches, 2011

For a long time I scoffed at the idea of reincarnation, until several years ago I began having flashes of memory from what I surmise to be former lives.  The recollections are like those you might have of when you are three or four years old, vague and fragmented and without context, but, at the same time, distinct.  In the earliest life that I can remember anything of, I lived in France somewhere, probably in the late 14th Century.  My father was a poor farmer with many children.  Since I less hardy than intelligent, he decided I would be of more use as a tailor's apprentice than as a farmhand.  I thus left home to live with a master tailor, who was kindly and taught me his trade.  I worked hard and made a success of the profession chosen for me.  My impression is that I made raiment for the nobility and acquired some acquaintance with life at court.  (I believe that my desire to design and sew my own clothes, which I still to some extent, do, is attributable to this former life.)  --- In executing a novel twist on the self-portrait, I decided to paint myself as I might have been in that past life.  To make the picture more interesting I made it a double portrait, myself as a 14th Century tailor showing some cloth to a client.  As the client I chose Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, who, with her husband, the Prince of Wales, Edward of Woodstock, the "Black Prince," held court at Bordeaux.  It is a fancy, but a possibility that I served her.  I chose to paint her not only because she was one of the most fondly remembered women of the period, but because I am descended from her several times, she being one of my most favorite ancestresses.  My lines of descent from her can be seen here

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