I think there are around 200 books in this painting, but I'm not sure. I stopped counting at around 135, and that was when I was nowhere near being done. Each of the seven shelves took at least a day to paint, not counting the knicknacks or the wooden parts (I didn't want to write "the shelves themselves"). Terry's books are more organized than most, but not maniacally so. Papers and magazines lie across some of the books. One shelf is devoted to new concepts in education while another boasts at least ten philosophy titles, but the majority of Terry's books here are novels. I enjoyed painting Penguin's logo over and over again along with some of the more artistic spines, such as Underworld by Don DeLillo. Believe me, what you see here is the tip of Terry's literary iceberg. Two more bookcases line the unseen wall to the right of the painting, and books dominate nearly every other room of his beautiful home.
Fun extras in this painting included three candles, a rock painted to resemble a ladybug, two framed photos including one of a gleeful Terry with some kind of cigarette girl, a (Medieval?) tapestry chunk featuring rabbits, a Culver-Stockton pennant (Terry is a professor there), and a t-shirt saying VOTE with a near-subliminal OBAMA beneath it. I placed Terry's vigilant cat Truman beside him.
Jeff and I took reference photos of Terry during the height of summer, and in the original photos Terry wore shorts and was barefoot. I told him I could eventually fake some khakis and shoes, and I managed to get a shot of Terry's loafers sitting near the front door before we left. Later at home I got a be-khakied Jeff to mimic Terry's pose so I could get a better idea of the wrinkles, so really what you see here are Jeff's legs adapted to fit Terry. It's all about your comfort when you ask me to paint you--I guess that's what I'm trying to say here.
I'd like to thank Terry for giving me the opportunity to paint him. I've been having a couple of stressful weeks healthwise, which I'll blog about tomorrow, and it was comforting to lose myself in the difficult work of this painting of my good friend.