Monday, October 4, 2010


Brother, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm

A third work in my Family series.

Done after a considerable break from portrait painting due to inter-state travel, a touch of health challenges, and wresting with a large landscape. It's hard to get back into the groove.

My older brother, long dead, was a vulnerable human being, a childhood survivor of the bombing of Dresden and a failed marriage that took his son from him. He needed so much love but never found enough. He was the James Dean of my family.

He will always haunt me.


  1. i hope you are well and getting into the zone and clearly with this work you definately are! it is emotionally a powerful piece of a person who sounds like a human who is not numbed by changing standards of humanity.

  2. Otra muestra de la fuerza con la que expresas tus emociones en cada una de tus obras, y en este caso lo que ha significado la figura de tu hermano para ti. No obstante, lo encuentro muy tétrico y depresivo. Es mi sensibilidad la que me hace hablar así, al margen de los valores y los méritos en sí de la propia obra.
    Respecto a los comentarios que has hecho de mis últimas obras, efectivamente estoy experimentando con el retrato, y tengo intención de hacer unos cuantos, difícil reto puesto que, como tú mismo habrás podido experimentar en tus obras, el retrato es uno de los temas más complicados que hay, y más si queremos pintarlos con cierto realismo.
    Un saludo, Harry.

  3. This is awesome Harry! Haunting and heartfelt as well. After your story and looking again at this painting it brought tears to my eyes.
    Very beautiful!

  4. Definitely a portrait with a lot of emotion tied to it - sadness, eeriness in things left out (the empty eyes, the torn mouth). Your work is stunning. No pretty pictures for you...just a definite pull on the heart when viewing your work.

  5. love this.. very dark. (My kind of art!). I love doing paintings of family members. Recently did one of my sister ( - she's the bottom pic.

  6. Beautiful piece. Your brother's loss and loneliness is haunting.
    Take care, Elizabeth

  7. You have described MY brother!... Viet Nam instead of Dresden, failed marriages ..."cool" (and handsome) as Steve McQueen..but no one knew him, not even me. It is remarkable that you and I had similar brothers. Mine died in 1996. Your words together with the painting send an arrow straight through my heart for all men like our brothers. The unknowables! At least they had OUR admiration (the older one always gets that) and we remember them and love them..despite their unwillingness to be known. EXCEPTIONAL painting.

  8. I agree that this is really powerful and haunting. I see a child on the left and an adult on the right; both seem dazed and lost. The heavy brushwork on the face (but not on the hair) is brilliant. Another great work of art.

  9. Thanks, rahina. My worry is that the underlying reason why it's difficult to get back into the zone isn't the break i've had but that the previous paintings have burnt something out of me, perhaps have been theraputic, and that consequently i've lost the intensity. Time will tell.

  10. Como usted dice, Manel, retratos son un verdadero desafío. Con mi serie de la familia, estoy tratando de dejar el realismo y en lugar de pintar los sentimientos en torno a la familia como yo los recuerdo. Supongo que los alrededor de mi hermano son de color oscuro e inquietante. Un saludo.

  11. You have such a kind heart, Monica. Thank you. Take care.

  12. Thanks for the comment about the emotions of this painting, Rhonda.

    In my Family Series i'm trying to paint the emotions around the recollected family, the family that haunts the memory, rather than the physical photographic family. So i struggle to leave realism behind and head into pure intuitive expressiveness, but with images that communicate to others.

    Quite true, the result is not decorative, lol. These are psychological portraits that strive for an existential truth, though i do hope that they contain a dark aesthetic as well.

    Your observation about what is left out and the torn mouth is spot on. Much is left out partly because faces in memory lack detail, though i remember my brother's hooded eyes and hunted gaze very well. Mainly i left out much of the mouth because he was very taciturn, reticent, private. And i created an ambiguous figure, for the right side can also be read as face in profile, gazing inward into its other half.

    Yes, i find it eerie too, like my brother's ghost caught in the moonlight. Thanks so for these observant comments, RH.

  13. Hi Kristin, glad you like the darkness of the work which i know is not to everyone's taste. I look forward to checking out your family work shortly.

  14. Thanks, Elizabeth. And thanks too for your blog posts of stimulous material from your course. It warms my heart to see the way the Open Studio course has lit you up. I can feel the energy and excitement come through. Best wishes.

  15. I am so moved by what you write, Celeste.

    “The unknowables”. How true. My brother had a combination of bravado and shyness, easy charm and halting conversation, that kept one guessing. He did not want to appear weak, and i never thought of him as weak. Just broken. He nursed his pain in secret after he came home from his broken marriage, my mother could hear him sobbing in his room in the depths of the night.

    Yes Celeste, they had our admiration, for i so looked up to him. And our love, for i so understood his wound and wanted in some way to touch it and heal him. But never could.

  16. I'm so pleased you see the child and adult, Hallie. Once the forms had intuitively emerged under my brush, i then chose to glaze the rounder, large-eyed half in the warmer tones of childish innocence, and the more mangled half in the greeny pallor of adult suffering.

    This really is the best part of blogging, having such observant, sensitive and aware bloggy friends respond to my work. Thank you, everyone.

  17. Harry, I feel your painting as the memory of a broken maque.
    The strength which he did not have is in your hand Harry when you execute this painting. That touches me a lot.

  18. Beautiful and moving.

    Glad you're getting back to painting.

  19. You've given him the honor deserved

  20. Hello Harry,
    Your painting is so emotionally powerful, it has taken me some time to find the words to express its impact. Superlatives seems trite when used on such work. The painting doesn't need them.
    Thanks for sharing,

  21. your family serie is great, I love this one too, great really love

  22. I visit a lot of blogs...but this is the only one where I can have a smile and a tear in the very same moment. Our brothers...they are the same man.

  23. Je vous remercie, Olivia, pour cette belle pensée et de votre compréhension.

    Thanks, Jean, feels daunting but good to be back into it.

    A lovely thought, jb. Thanks.

  24. Thanks, Gary. It is a big departure from realism and therefore less likely to be understood by many people. Which leaves me with a problem a think you will understand -

    I want people to understand my work because i believe painting is a communication, but i also want to be free to paint as the mood strikes me. I want people to like my work but i also want to be free to say what is in my heart, even if others don't agree or always understand.

    It is not always esy to get the balance right - to find one's own voice, be true to one's own vision and intentions, yet also be relevant to the thoughts, tastes and lives of others.

    And this painting is a case in point for me.

  25. Harry, your work is so meaningful and expressive both in content and words. I always feel uplifted when I read your posts which are definitely my favourite. You are a great mentor for my own work as I find it hard to stay on track and be true to my own vision of how I want my paintings to communicate to others.

  26. Harry,

    We are surrounded by ghosts, both living and dead. Your love for your brother is evident in this tribute. The image is haunting, indeed...I can't shake it from my memory. It is powerful.

    I have to smile at your comment about "wrestling with a large landscape." I guess we all do that each and every day - wrestle with this existence. You are doing an excellent job, my friend!

    Enjoy the rest of your week,

  27. Harry.
    This is a work that reflects great sadness, the intense dark blue background

    with white sharp contrast, the face into two parts, the touches of red eye ...

    achieves a spectral aspect.
    A superb work.
    Take care.

  28. Hi Harry,
    sometimes we have to face with a force that neither we, these stressful phases that emerge to challenge us!
    but I wish that everything fits to normal ...

    for what you explained his poor brother had a very troubled life ...
    This painting depicts quite well the spirit tormented him!
    is awesome, is heavy and significant!
    I imagine their feelings when making this picture... is good, exorcises bad sensations.
    and health for us all!

  29. Hi Laura. Love the amazing things you've been doing. Thanks for bringing your positive energy here.

    Celeste, what a lovely thing to say! First our absent fathers. Now our 'same man' brothers. You aren't a long-lost sister, are you? (never had a sister - it would have been nice).

    Carolann, an uplifting thing to hear from you, but naughty too. You just stay on track , esp with your magnificent landscapes. Everytime i see them my eyes and soul finds rest.

    Yes, Brian, well put. We will wrestle on. Though your immaculate paintings look so ordered, all the relationships and values just so. But underneath is the Bacon lover (Francis, not frying) wrestling away. Have a good weekend.

  30. Lozzano, always good to have your comment. Glad you noticed that tiny touch of red. I wasn't sure why i put it there. To suggest red eyes from crying? Red with rage? Or just to energize the surrounding blues? Well observed.

    Hi Denise. Yes, i think quite a bit of my painting is exorcising ghosts. Wonderful toast - "Good health (healing and happiness) to us all"!

  31. Hello Harry:
    I can see that once again you are visiting the depths of your subconscious, congratulations for being able to bring out these images printed
    in your story and for some reason insist on visiting it even against your will.
    I consider this very good work, and the way you portrayed
    a picture of your brother and color combination really gives us the idea
    of a figure from the depths!
    Take this opportunity to thank the well-informed comment left on my blog,
    sorry for the length of this intervention , but I think that readers interested in visual arts will also like
    A big hug

    Mr Harry
    Thank you for your comment on my blog,
    I see that Mr. perfectly understood my message
    about the of my recent work, "Mr Goethe
    The study of colors and color wheel created by Goethe in 1810
    surprising because it is used in our century in a very comprehensive
    in modern universities of fine arts and also in the printing industry.
    Currently, the study of color theory in the universities is divided into three stories with the same characteristics as Goethe proposed for color: the color physical (optical physics), the color of saline (physiological optics) and color chemistry (physical chemistry perspective).
    The content is basically Newton's theory plus modern observations on waves. Goethe's studies can still be found in psychology books, art and even children's books that have optical illusions.
    I recommend everyone who enjoys visual arts to research on Mr.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Frankfurt am Main, August 28, 1749 - Weimar, 22 March 1832

  32. This is really haunting Harry! Powerful!

  33. This painting and your words leave me speechless. I cannot express enough the admiration and respect I have for you as an artist. I feel honoured to be able to watch your journey through your blog.

  34. Thank you for sharing
    This fabulous work with us
    Good creations

  35. Hi Harry,

    This is so powerful and moving beyond words. I’m glad you’re back in the zone. I’m sorry I haven’t been around for a while, I’ve been wrestling with my own paintings, which has left me somewhat burnt out and depleted. Hoping to post something soon.

  36. im new to your blog. I found it through Paulo Zerbato. Beautiful works =)

  37. Well, i finally get around to blogging! It's been a hectic week!

    Paulo, thank you for your generous response to this painting. And yes, it is enriching that we both share an interest in Goethe.

    Hi Liz, and thank you.

    Hi Skizo, always nice to see you back. Thank you, friend.

    And you too, Jaime Baio.

  38. Nicki, what a lovely and generous thing to say. I am delighted of course, that this works speaks to you so. :-D PLease do stay with me on my journey, though it is a bit stop and start and the moment.

  39. Teri, long time no see. So pleased to hear you are back into painting. Thanks for coming by to share.

  40. A big welcome to Makavetis. Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you found your way through the talented Paulo.

  41. Someone without understanding, wich has now found its way into your picture.
    He lives with you.
    Many greetings, Harry.

  42. Very powerful painting and very moving story behind it!

    I just recently found this blog with your work and thoughts. I really admire your work and your brave decision to follow your heart, giving up your career to focus on painting and art in general!

  43. Greetings, Azucena, and thank you for your sensitive thought.

    Welcome to the blog, Rodney. So glad you found your way here. Glad you find something to like in my painting. Thank you.

  44. Dear Harry , this one is a very powerful and dramatic painting . As always , U are able to describe your brother's tragic story by a few brushes .
    But , I think , U shouldn't feel haunted : that was his destiny , U do not have any fault or part in it.
    Anyway , painting it should have been liberating for U, giving Him a tribute of your love.
    take care

  45. Thanks for those thoughts, Marialuisa. And you are right. But i can't help feeling i should have done more or given more of myself, somehow. I feel i let him down. And i am sad for the destiny that was his and its effect on my mother. But these thoughts and feelings are so common in so many families. It helps to hear down-to-earth sense from you :-D.

  46. Dear Harry ,I do understand U , I have too a very sad + miserable family story ; I feel sad but not guilty. I think ,we have to learn from the past , but move on towards the LIGHT !!!
    a big hug