A.Richard Allen
I've been itching
to test myself with a bit of portraiture.

It's not that great a leap for me as it might seem (or might've seemed a few months back before my stylistic noodlings). At one point in my distant past when I first started painting all I wanted to be was Lucian Freud. Naturally at art school I had such perverted notions beaten out of me. I remember a technician deriding Freud, as merely an 'illustrator'. I got to meet Freud some years ago at my favourite London restaurant, Moro. My wife pointed out someone at the bar who had a bit of string holding up his trousers. With great excitement I told her that it wasn't, as she's first suspected, a vagrant and that we needn't summon the Maitre D and have him ejected (that makes it sound like we inhabit a Peter Arno cartoon).

A bottle of wine later I went over to Lu (as I like to call him) and covered him with spittle and praise. He was gracious, but demured when I asked him to do me a stack of napkin sketches (not really, though having a bunch of Freud doodles to flog might help with putting the kids though college). As an homage to LF, my poor, unfortunate son carries the middle name Lucian. Or Lucy-Ann as the playground wags will have it. Still, it'll toughen him up.

Last year an art director asked me to do a pic of John Updike which I fretted over endlessly trying to achieve a likeness from various sources without making it obvious that I'd used photographic reference. The job was killed- possibly because the pic in question was so weak and ever since I've been meaning to revisit the subject.

So recently I did just that. Along with a scene from ace HBO series, The Wire. Plus a pic of Richard Ford.

As I've mentioned when running these by friends, I did worry that they'd taken a worrying Alex Katz-like turn (all sun-dappled and rather vapid) but whatever my misgivings, I'm pleased with the direction in which they're taking me.
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