White Mustached, Cigar Leather Daddy in a Leather Cap, 12x12 inches oil on canvas panel by Kenney Mencher
This is an original work of art NOT a print
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This is an oil portrait of a leather daddy bear smoking a cigar in profile.
What is a bear daddy?
In gay culture, a bear is a larger and often hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity.
Cigar smoking is something I have a fascination with and apparently so do a lot of men. The Advocate ran a photoshoot and spread featuring photographer Dave Dudar. According to Dudar, "For some, the image of a cigar smoker represents the epitome of masculinity. So, in the hands of a gay man, a cigar upends a part of society's expectations for us, while for others, it fortifies it. And for this photographer, often a cigar is just a cigar. I've smoked with each of these guys [in this portfolio], and it's a pleasure to do so. And photographically, it's even more fun to shoot..."
I'm a big fan of portrait painting in the vein of John Singer Sargent and Malcom Liepke. Often I find pictures of characters on the web and make quick alla prima portraits of people with cool or interesting faces.
("Alla Prima" Also known as ‘direct painting’, ‘au premier coup’ or occasionally mistakenly as ‘wet-on-wet’, alla prima is a one-layer painting technique in which the painting (usually painted from life) is completed in one sitting or while the paint is still wet.)
Portraits like this are one of my favorite things to paint. This goes all the way back to my childhood when I had a wonderful teacher in junior high school who invited me to stay late after school and he spent an hour and a half going over the proportions of the face and the individual features of the face.
This lesson was so inspiring that for years after that I spent a good part of my free time drawing interesting and beautiful faces out of magazines and photo books for years. When I got older, I learned the fundamentals of figure drawing and painting and I was able to grow expand my repertoire but faces are still a favorite subject for me. In this case, sometimes you just must do a kind of character study of an interesting face.
Later in high school, I had an awesome teacher named Irwin Greenberg, who along with Max Ginsburg, ran an early morning atelier they called the "Old Hat Painting Club" that started around 6am and ran until school started at 9 or 10. They would do demonstrations and we would paint from live models. "Greeny" taught us the fundamentals of painting in watercolor and oil and would show us works by Rembrandt, Velasquez, Charles Pfahl, Sargent and others to inspire us. Ginsburg and Greeny would choose one of the students to model and we would all chip 25 cents to paint from a live model.