700 – Tony Paints Ted

Tony Paints Ted

Self-Portrait (with Ted), interior illustration from Ted
2001
Acryla gouache on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

Like so many fans of Rockwell and artists, his Triple Self-Portrait is my favorite. It’s iconic. I grew up looking at it, and staring at it. As a kid I loved the humor of it. As an adult artist, I marvel at the mastery of not only the technical skills in the drawing, but the ingenuity in what he had pulled off.

When it came time to do an author portrait for my second picture book, Ted, I wanted to do something similar, but there was no way I could capture the brilliance of Rockwell. And so, instead, I pivoted the viewer a bit and did a side profile shot of myself with Ted, the imaginary character, looking over my shoulder.

That’s the kind of impact that a single painting can have on another person, especially another artist, over their life. It seeps into your conscious. It becomes part of the fabric of your imagination, and who you are. And to see my little portrait next to Norman’s famous portrait, gives me both a feeling of excitement and humility. It’s that much of an important piece in my life.