I met Chuck Close through a patron of mine and asked him to sit for me. Chuck’s work had inspired me in my student years, as he was one of a very few painters being recognized in the field of portraiture. To this day his use of abstraction mixed with realism continues to inspire. I feel honored to have painted this legendary character of American art. I tried to capture this reverence while still portraying the actual man as I met him in this current phase of his life, not as the man I first met through his Self Portrait with Cigarette at the Walker Art Center when I was still a teenager. I like to approach portrait painting with a combination of learned visual skills mixed with an interpretation of the general character, or “soul” if you will, of the sitter. The latter I feel is of utmost importance to produce a work that will speak to the viewer.