You Should Take a Personal Day, 18x18 inches oil on gallery wrapped stretched canvas by Kenney Mencher

You Should Take a Personal Day,
18x18 inches oil on gallery wrapped stretched canvas
by Kenney Mencher

I'm trying to take my subject matter a step beyond what I've been doing in terms of my gay art that features bears.  In this case I was thinking of two mature men, possibly married, in a relationship to one another.  I'm attempting to tell more of a story by including multiple figures in a more complex composition.  I've been working with the idea of juxtaposing a clothed figure against a nude figure and trying to tell more of a story and excite the viewers' imaginations.  This time it's about two bears, one in a business suit.  I wanted to go beyond the single nude or semi nude figure which at times can be pretty predictable as a format in homoerotic art.

I think a lot of gay art focuses on the young pretty males, often portraying these figures just in terms of almost raw sexuality but in this case I'm hoping to make a painting that's a bit more original in terms of content.  First, although this painting is erotic and or homoerotic, I wanted to show mature men, not necessarily muscle bears, but real bears, in a more romantic and true to life relationship to one another.

In "You Should Take a Personal Day," I'm hoping that the composition helps to tell the story.  The almost split down the middle of the canvas that has the larger figure coming towards the viewer, while the other naked figure's torso is turned towards the advancing figure and framed in a doorway which also serves to create a deeper space and pulls the viewer into the picture.  I had considered having the characters' eyes looking towards one another but at the last minute I thought it might break the "third wall '' if both the characters seemed to be looking at the picture's audience.  I thought it might make a stronger relationship between the viewer and the painting's story.  I even imagined they were a third in a ménage a trois.

The paint on this is also super thick as a way to create more visual and physical presence to the painting.  The technique of applying thick layers of paint is called an "impasto" (sort of the Italian for paste.)  I try to vary the textures to compliment or amplify the surfaces and planes I'm painting.  So the face and arms on this painting were painted more with thick bristle brushes and the strokes are meant to be gestural or calligraphic.  The background and the shirt are literally troweled on in areas. It took forever for this painting to dry because the paint is so thick.

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