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A Rose is a Rose

July 19, 2017






Gertrude Stein once commented that the reason so many people look alike is because there are only six faces out there and we keep encountering them over and over. She might have been joking, but it does seem that many faces look familiar.


Several days ago, son CJ and his fiancée Andrea came to dinner. During the course of the evening I showed them a few paint sketches I’d been working on.


CJ took a look at an imaginary woman I whipped up and asked, “Why did you paint Rose from the movie Titanic?




I said, “I didn’t. It’s just a face I invented.”


“It’s Rose, alright,” he said, reaching for his iPhone and punching up a picture of Kate Winslet as Rose.




Kate Winslet as Rose


I had to admit it was a close resemblance. I was reminded of the time I painted my major opus The Protest, a scene with dozens of people. I didn’t want anyone in the painting to be recognizable. Nevertheless, people pointed out O.J. Simpson, Jerry Garcia, William Shatner and Elton John. If I’d tried to actually paint these folks, they might not have been recognizable.


My latest selfie was visible in the background of a photo I recently posted of my painting Sorting Fish on Tonlé Sap Lake. Several of you asked for a closer look, so here it is. I’ve painted many self-portraits over the years and this is not Mrs. Chatterbox’s favorite. She says it makes me look too old. Well, I’m sixty-five now and this is what a sixty-five-year-old me looks like.




I’m not vain, but a closet bursting with self-portraits would seem to suggest otherwise.





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I think you look good for 65. To me your portrait looked like Nicole Kidman earlier in her career. Maybe everyone just sees what they want to see.
By: PT Dilloway on July 19, 2017
People come up to my wife all the time and ask her if she'd kin to this person or that. Apparently she has one of those faces. I like the self portrait. R
By: Rick Watson on July 19, 2017
I think you look great in the painting- have a lovely day!
By: Kathe W. on July 19, 2017
Everyone sees what they want to see - especially when it comes to looking at children (he looks like you!, no...he looks like his father!) I'm terrible at judging ages, but I would not peg the man in that portrait as 65. Younger, I'd say.
By: Kelly on July 19, 2017
It looks a bit like Rose but your painting shows more of life in her. She has had love and lost it and has a bit more cynicism. I really like it. You look great for 65! You look more like a 55 yr old.....that's what I think. Rembrandt painted many self portraits and I don't think it is vanity as much a trying to capture who you are and trying to figure out your own self. That's just me talking:)
By: Birgit Bedesky on July 19, 2017
You're talented--I would say I hope that I have that much hair at 65, but like the Titanic, I think that ship has sailed!
By: Sage on July 19, 2017
Fascinating that your painting so closely resembled Winslet! The older I get, the more often I see a complete stranger and think, that looks like so-and-so ... I tend to agree that there are only so many combinations of features out there :) Thank you for posting a close-up of your self-portrait. You look quite pensive there. I think having a lot of self-portraits says only that you are always ready and willing to pose for a portrait - unlike the rest of the world.
By: jenny_o on July 19, 2017
Wonderful work, in both instances. There is a bit of a resemblance to Ms. Winslet but your invented lady is quite marvelous. I am particularly taken with her eyes and the enigmatic expression you have fixed. Thanks for giving us a closer look at the self portrait. If the artist did an honest job, I say you look fit, well and vibrant at 65. Again I'm taken by the hard to read look in the eyes. I see a slight bemusement with a studied reserve. You nailed that goatee. The brush strokes make it "whiskery alive!" Amazing work.
By: Tom Cochrun on July 19, 2017
That's Kate all right...funny!
By: cranky on July 19, 2017
You've lost so much weight; congratulations!! I once painted an old lady who turned out to look like my grandmother & a young girl who looked like Nameless!!
By: fishducky on July 19, 2017
If I were Kate, I'd buy that one. You are looking good young man. Weight loss becomes you.
By: Arkansas Patti on July 19, 2017
Actually, i think you look younger in photographs than in this portrait. You might be too hard on yourself.
By: messymimi on July 19, 2017
You are amazing! Only six faces? No wonder you remind me of that guy who got banned from the casino for improper footwear.
By: Val on July 19, 2017
I think six is a bit limiting. but I'm sure many of the basics are the same. The variations and combinations are what makes the difference.
By: red Kline on July 19, 2017
You did very good on the self portrait, I like it very much, and yes Rose does appear to be Rose.
By: Jimmy on July 19, 2017
Wow---you really are talented. And yes, that does look like Kate!
By: Marcia @ Menooausal Mother on July 19, 2017
I think it's a great painting but I don't think it looks like Rose really, just the hair. You don't look old at all.
By: LL Cool Joe on July 20, 2017
You look great, Steve! I didn't think of Kate Winslet when I first saw your lady portrait, but after I scrolled down to Kate's picture, I was amazed at how similar they are. Have a great day!
By: Linda on July 20, 2017
Hmmmm ... I think you look a little like Humphrey Bogart.
By: Tom Sightings on July 20, 2017
Well, since we all have two eyes, one nose and one mouth, we resemble each other a little already. I was sitting in church last Sunday and saw a man and thought to myself, "Why is my brother here?" He looked so much like my brother it was eery. I tried to meet him, but he got away before I could. Hope he comes back.
By: Kate Craig on July 20, 2017
Your newer slimmer self is wonderful accomplishment. I don't think it looks Rose. Your painting depicts a beautiful young lady... perhaps a lady from your dreams.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 21, 2017
I think you look great in your self portrait. And I do see the resemblance to Kate Winslet, but at first I thought it looked a bit like a young Jane Fonda.
By: Pixel Peeper on July 22, 2017

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