I've been working for several months now on the lastest in my series of annual Birthday Portraits, an ongoing series of works, one produced every year since turning 40. This one os more somber than previous paintings. this past year or so I've been thinking more about the perpetual slide toward the inevitable end—mine, and that of others including my two sweet basset hounds Bertha and Gertude. My posture here is not so much one of confrontation as directness. I wanted to depict an image of myself as staring straight forward, looking past the viewer into some further distance. While there is a suggestion fearlessness, ultimately the dwarfing of the figure through distortion makes gives the appearance of being somewhat child-like—innocent or naive perhaps. Anyway, this is a big painting for me, upwards of 45 inches tall, and it has been a real sturggle to complete. Worst of all I'm not even sure I like it. But that is the nature of the beast and I must see it through to completion now.