Faces, Time….part II

by | Sep 23, 2018 | The Hungry Eye

Tunneling through time & finding faces, I nearly veered off into the land of animal portraits, but fortunately I was rescued by the sheer volume of images I plunged through.  Slides, flat files and sketchbooks were searched.  Items were handled, nostalgia-ized over and then triaged.  And so we begin with literary figures.  Initially from books and then the writers of.

These two drawings were the result of a rainy day with my one-year old son.  There were two books on the table next to my sketchbook:

And looking back through the decades we come to the first oil self portrait I did.  That’s an actual Post headline: 

Going back a few decades to the only drawing I have of Harlan Ellison, although our lives crossed paths multiple times from his place in LA to the courtrooms of NYC.  He is almost as famous as the Cat in the Hat so certainly deserves to be here. And since he is not present in the body he can’t yell at me about it.

Robert Morales was a great friend of Harlan and was responsible for my connection to him. He, Robert, was one of my best friends over four decades. He abruptly left this field of action five years ago. In the latter part of his life he refused to have his photo taken or his portrait drawn or painted. He threatened cessation of friendship if this was done. He was serious. Before this decree I painted him at a fight in a topless bar and did multiple drawings of him. After his departure I did a straight head portrait, missing him and knowing he could not drop the friendship from the astral plane.

The first ever–a bit hard to see as the old paper has crinkled and yellowed over the years…I had a hammock in my loft and he was happily lounging there:


A year later, writing:

From a story he told me about a fight at a topless bar came this:


1995-96       22 X 44       oil on linen

and hanging out through the years….

…and the portrait after his death:



2016        24 X 24    oil on linen

Rearranging time, this is Robert & Chip (Samuel R Delany) drawn at a restaurant in Tribeca (Walkers)…I was a few glasses of wine in:


And this is the first drawing I ever did of Chip.  He, I and Robert all met at the same time at a book signing for Dhalgren at the Science Fiction Shop in the West Village:


There have been many drawings of Chip, especially in the graphic novel Bread & Wine we did together.  But outside of making a book this is what sometime happened:

Chip reading and Henry Kaiser playing:

Chip & China Mieville at NYU:


Portrait of Chip

2010       13 X 16    oil on wood

Another person I met because of Robert. This is Eddie Campbell, first at San Diego Comic Con and then a small portrait I did after he visited me in NY.  I don’t have the date or dimensions (quite small–maybe 5 X 7) on the oil as I sent it to him in the mail—he’s probably lost it in all his travels!


And while we are in the realm of cartoonists here are few others.  In order:  Frank Miller, Frank Miller, Paul Pope, Paul Pope, Jeff Smith drawn by me and Frank and Lynda Barry:

One more writer, although she is also an actor, director and aerialist.  Carla Cantrelle:

Portrait of Carla

early 2000’s       18 X 24 (?)          oil on canvas

OK, I could keep going.  My desktop is still full of images of people rendered.  We didn’t get to the Italians, some boyfriends and more family. I didn’t realize that doing this would also be a version of my own history.  Its been nice to visit everyone…it gives a sequence to the chaos.

Its grey outside and Autumn is slipping in.  I didn’t have lunch yet.  I think there will just have to be a part III.

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Till next time, don’t let the headlines eat you…….