Bear in Morning Light, 12x16 inches oil on canvas panel by Kenney Mencher


This painting is on Ebay for a one day auction. Bidding starts at $375 

Auction ends 10/28/2022

Bear in Morning Light, 12x16 inches oil on canvas panel by Kenney Mencher

I was thinking about the light and color in Vermeer's paintings when I designed and painted this,

The subject matter of most of my paintings deals with thicker middle aged me often referred to as bears. I'm trying to represent the beauty of older hyper masculine men who often get overlooked by our more youth oriented culture.

In gay culture, in particular in the gay male subculture, gay bears, more commonly referred to as just a bear, is a larger - and often hairy - bisexual or gay man who is seen to portray or display a form of untamed, rugged, wild masculinity, often with a full beard, chest hair, and a lot of other body hair.

Generically speaking, the term bear is used to describe men who portray the aesthetics of working-class manhood. There is also a strong connotation between bears and the rural LGBT community.

Bear culture is often associated with discovering forms of masculinity, as gay men queer what it means to be masculine through the reputation of being kind, sensitive, and affectionate. As such, the bear subculture has made an important contribution to changing the public perception of the larger gay community, by showing that not all gay men have the same physical appearance - in particular regarding facial and body hair - and that there is no one way of being "mainstream gay." In doing so, the bear movement has also not only contributed to bear identity and gay male culture but to the masculine gender role in general.

One of my favorite things to do is to paint small brushy portraits of faces. It's one of the things that I learned to do in high school, I went to the High School Art Design in New York City, where I studied painting with Max Ginsburg and Irwin Greenberg. Greenberg conducted an extra open studio time before school began that he called "The Old Hat Painting Club." We would get to school about two or three hours early and one of us would model for the rest of the students who would begin painting a wet into wet or "ala prima" painting of either the full figure, head and shoulders, or just the face of a single person. We would all dig into our pockets and contribute a quarter or $.50 to pay the model. This was way back in 1979 so that actually could amount to going out for sandwich or a meal.

Greenberg taught us a quick 19th-century style that is often referred to as wet into wet or sometimes ala prima. What this means is we with telling the canvas with some turpentine and a little bit of burnt sienna paint and then start drawing into this soupy mix with the darker brown, usually burnt umber, and draw with the brush. We would immediately start to model the shading or value structure as we painted and we would sometimes wipe out the lighter areas to be able to see the value structure or structure of light and shadow as it moved across the figure or face. You have to work very quickly and sometimes you only had two or three two-hour sessions to complete the painting and our teachers were so skillful that they were able to make a completed portrait, in the style of John Singer Sargent, sometimes in as little as an hour. It was a kind of magic and we strove to learn how to do that. Now at the ripe old age of 57 I'm able to paint beautiful young people and sometimes older handsome men in anywhere between 2 to 5 hours. In the style of my teachers. This painting took about, 6 to 7 hours, I'm not as good as Greenberg.

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