(Olmsted Township, Ohio)

Self-Portrait 2020

10" x 8"
charcoal on paper

My career began in the theatrical arts as a specialist in large-scale theatrical puppetry. I always enjoyed the process of visual problem-solving in puppetry: How can I take rigid materials and manipulate them to move in a fluid, life-like way? I discovered that by manipulating charcoal in this same way, it is uniquely possible to contain the entirety of a complex story in a single image.
This discovery has continued to influence my compositions and has developed into a portfolio of dramatic portraiture and dense still-life with a focus on storytelling. "Self Portrait 2020" was drawn during a pandemic lockdown by looking through a series of mirrors, representing a time of self-reflection and discovery.

Instagram: @maxwellfineart

Juror's note: This is a wonderful self-portrait using a classic approach. The rich contrast and atmospheric scene take the viewer right where the artist wants them to go. The drawing exhibits excellent composition and design, with very effective lighting and control of values, especially within the darks.