Self-portrait/ Watercolor was painted using watercolour paint on paper mounted onto 20.7 x 149.2 cm canvas by Chuck Close in 1976-1977. The piece was created using a gridded photograph which Close then replicated on the large scale he is renowned for. Then image is true to Close’s photorealistic style which is interesting as Chuck Close suffers from a condition known as Prosopagnosia, this manes that he cannot recognise faces. However, it seems that he is better at remembering faces by painting these hyper realistic pieces. This self-portrait shows him in his late thirties and links with a series of self-portraits the he created at different stages in his life. It is important to note that, although Close uses many different mediums and a wide palette, all his self-portraits (prior to “The Event”) are in black and white. This could suggest that he is a rather private man and does not want to give anything away about his personality and instead conveys his introverted personality, hinting that Close is a very private, mysterious man and wants to retain a sort of anonymity in the piece as he does not allow the audience any glimpse of his personality. This is further emphasised by the use of black in the piece as black conveys mystery. The use of black and white in his pieces gives them a classic, timeless feel like the portraits of starlets and celebrities around the time of the invention of the first black and white camera. This means that his images have a contemporary feel, yet they are very ambiguous as to when they were created. The black and white in the pieces have various colour connotations, for example black can convoy rebellion and sophistication which adds even more mystery to the piece as they are two completely different connotations. On the other hand, both meanings can be seen in the piece, the use of achromatic colours in the piece makes it seem sophisticated and elegant, while his unkempt beard adds a hint of rebellion. Equally white has many meanings, for example white is usually associated with simplicity and perfection, this is echoed in the piece as the lack of symbolism and colour makes it seem simple and the imperfections shown in the painting could, ironically, make the piece perfect as it is a “perfect” copy of a human face. The background of his self-portraits seem to get darker as he creates portraits when he gets older, this could be foreshadowing death, particularly as the colour black is associated with death and white with youth and birth, or could be used to suggest that he has soaked up more knowledge and experience and that that is his way of adding it to the piece. This could also be the reason that he has chosen to keep the piece simple and clean, void of symbolism in order to prevent interpretation. The cream background gives a hint of colour to the image, making it seem warmer, yet wilted as if Close believes that he is coming to the end of his prime decade and that he has anxieties about aging. It also makes him seem older than he is in the piece which could suggest that he is mature beyond his years, this could also be the reason that he chose to create a self-portrait wearing glasses. Close relies on the rule of thirds, positioning the portrait in the centre third with the eyes crossing the top third, giving the image a classic composition and a pleasing aesthetic. The negative space within the image itself gives it a clean, simple look and balances the piece, drawing attention to the face itself. This is helped by the way that he is staring intensely out of the piece, engaging the audience and drawing them in further. His portrait displays a wide tonal range which could contribute to the realism of the piece. It also includes lots of texture; the wiry beard, reflective glasses and crinkled top all give the image a great depth of field, making it look almost 3D. Unlike many artists, Close includes “imperfections” in the face including fine wrinkles and veins in eyes. It is amazing that he has managed to capture this detail using watercolour paints as these types of paints usually give a blurred, “washy” effect rather than the high definition, sharp details and broad tonal range. However the paint does allow for blending and to create smooth surfaces though it is impressive that Close managed to create the harsh, rough texture of his beard, almost as if he is showing off!