"Boy with Cigarette Lighter" oil on panel (not sure of the size yet)
Here is the painting of my son after the first shot. Already his face has taken on his likeness. I needed that to happen so that I could sink into the complex feelings and thoughts I have about him and by holding those sentiments while working I can better imbue them into the work.
My son is 12 and I believe the rapid growth of his body has put his soul into a kind of cocoon state. Most of the time he is dopey and seems half asleep. And in fact he sleeps almost half of every day, often 11 or 12 hours a night.
And yet, recently he has taken a keen interest in fire. He carries a cigarette lighter and flicks it repeatedly whenever he can. He loves lighting candles and building fires even at inappropriate locations like the floor of his basement bedroom at his Mother's house.
I wanted this painting to capture the doleful sleepy boy with a smoldering compassionate heart that is just beginning to wake up. And I will put the flame of the cigarette lighter in front of his throat because this is where he is most stuck...and in need of the fires of creativity to burn through whatever is blocking him from speaking. It is his own fire and he will light up when he is ready. My painting of him will simply be a little glimpse of this small miracle taking place before my very eyes in slow motion everyday.