I've wanted to do one like this for quite awhile, but I just haven't made myself do it.
My Drawing students and I share a regular joke about my love of shadows. I don't know what it is, but I am absolutely captivated by the effects of light and how it can create dazzling effects with darkness within a composition. For my money, a good shadow within an artwork can turn something that's merely medicore into something outstanding.
I am particularly fond of the extreme light and darks in the paintings of Caravaggio. (The term for this is chiaroscuro, and for the record, it's a damned fun word to say out loud!) I'm pretty pleased with the great contrast that I got in today's self-portrait. As a bit of a preview, this is what I plan to incorporate into my painting style as well.
#349 October 4, 2011, Charcoal on brown paper bag