I wonder how long it took you to paint this self portrait. Do you go back to it, over & over again, for days on-end ... and then wait long months for the oil to dry? I love everything about this painting. The pensive gaze is what draws me to the painting ... it makes me wonder what you are thinking, contemplating, remembering. The dark crimson makes it feel as though it is a cross between The Scarlet Letter and something akin to subjective royalty, as if the man in the painting intended to scale a throne but fate intervened and denied him his birthright. Or maybe the worn pages of the book that you've read so many times has finally given up it's secret to you. And is that a pillow on your right? I don't know if the man in the painting is accustomed to creature comforts or perhaps he's content with just a few material possessions, just enough to assure that he can function creatively and intellectually in his world. I think what I'm trying to say is ... this painting speaks volumes ... and I'm certain it tells a different story to every pair of eyes that fall upon it.