Abbreviated Portrait No. Two: HWD HGHS
Poteet on Howard: Even though many people are not as familiar with Howard Hughes (even less with his image), I had always admired him for his genius.
This painting still haunts me for all that it contains from my subconscious. People are able to relate to and identify parts of the painting that I was completely unaware of while painting it. Hughes was the most esoteric subject I have considered. While looking at old photos, his dark tall slender figure always stood out. But the most predominant thought in my mind is the 'khaki' color. In testing others, they saw the same thing... they would describe it as yellow, brown, etc. Regarding the shapes or strokes, I experimented by painting what first came to mind, and eventually hit on the combination that was IT...HIM. I certainly cannot plan the imagery, that works against the process, kind of like trying to pre-write an impromptu speech...the intrigue for me is to continue painting and to watch what is eventually revealed. The arc in the center of the piece is an illusion to the wooden Spruce Goose wing, although I didn't realize this at the time.
The elongation of the two main forms in the center of the piece are uncanny when you see his photograph. Even though there are no recognizable features in the painting, it is him. I painted HWD HGHS seven or eight times before finding the final combination of shape, color and composition.