Sunday, August 5, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe II  -- 20 x 24, 2012
Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe I  -- 24 x 18, 2007
POEtic Inspiration -- 18 x 24, 2009

I've always liked the works of Edgar Allan Poe and just a few years ago I read, or rather had my MacBook read to me, about 95% of his complete works from a file downloaded from  Of course his distinctive looks, if not the mystique of his persona, makes him an admirable subject for portraiture and I am surprised it took me until 2007 before deciding to make an attempt at painting him.  The results were quite encouraging (the photo does it little justice) and the piece was sold.  A couple years later when I was thinking up subject matter to fit into a group show at Tory Folliard Gallery entitled "When Animals Talk" I decided I would portray Poe again, this time communing with a raven as he was about to pen his most famous poem.  I was disappointed that many of the viewers of the exhibition didn't seem to know whom the picture was supposed to represent (that boggles the mind!) but I eventually sold the piece myself to a friend who did.  Lately, in my desperate, perhaps futile quest to paint something that someone someday will want to buy, I fell back on familiar and popular subject matter and decided to assay another Poe portrait.  This time I made the painting wide instead of tall as is usual with portraits, and this allowed me to include more of a background.  Passing over the man in black with a cape look, I painted him in a chestnut overcoat that he wore for some of the daguerrotypes taken of him.  I included a cane, which he did carry, and a book to show him a gentleman of culture, even if the slightly frayed cuff reveal the reality of shabby gentility.  The background are naturally suggested by the subject matter of his stories with the obligatory raven and black cat.  

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