Crybaby, 8x10 inches oil on canvas panel by Kenney Mencher

Crybaby, 8x10 inches oil on canvas panel by Kenney Mencher $375

I try to be as creative as I can with the titles of my paintings. I'm trying to suggest to my audience a trait or quality about the character that they see in the painting. In this instance I was trying to make a kind of painting that would appeal to a gay audience who were interested in twinks. In this case, this beautiful young man with his soulful eyes gazing off the edge of the canvas is designed to evoke an imaginative response from my viewers. I realized after I finished painting him that he looked a little bit like a crybaby to me. Hence the title.

According to the urban dictionary a twink is,

A "twink" is usually considered a homosexual male with attractive, boyish qualities. Typically from the ages of 18-25, and often thought as a young, white, fashionable male.

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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