Rafael, A Portrait of My Man

With our techniques, an artist without the use of their hands can gain perfectly exacting control.  They can place the tiniest point of color on their canvas, exactly where they want it to go.  What I am saying is, if they wanted, they could make a photo-realistic painting using the A.R.T. systems. 

The two of us in the studio, artist extraordinaire Rafael Garcia called to me, “Tim, come here. Sit down here. I’m going to paint a portrait of you.”

“I don’t want my portrait painted.”

“Come over here.  Sit down.”

I gave in to being Rafael’s model, and as the weeks went by he worked on the shape of my face, and the shape of my upper torso. Head and shoulders. And in time, although the painting was still in its preliminary phase, people said they could tell it was me.

Rafael already had a title for the painting.  I forget the Spanish words but the affectionate translation in English is: ‘A Portrait of My Man’

 As he worked on the under painting of the head and shoulders, while he worked on the many all but transparent washes of colors that would be the flesh of my face, I did not need to sit as his model. 

When it came time for the finer details Rafael called to me, “Come here. Sit right here, so I can look at you.”

Having taken a seat close to the confident Puerto Rican superstar, studying my face he said, “You know you have wrinkles around your eyes?”

“I do?”

“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll put them in later.”