Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Dance

I really enjoy portraits. Some portraits are very formal and some are very fun. I was very happy to get this gig. Ken Rhoads commissioned this 16" X 20" oil painting as a surprise gift for his wife Becky's birthday. Ken emailed this dyamic (but low-res) image to me as a reference photo. I've had to work from some pretty poor images, once from a 1920s newspaper photo, and they pose some real challenges. Ultimately you have to shift your approach away from any detail and focus on overall gesture. I've had two opportunities to portray Becky (who is one of my all time favorite people) and sadly both have been from poor reference pictures (see "The Rehearsal").  One of these days that will have to get corrected. 
Ken also wanted this lyric from Mr. Tambourine Man to be included someway. I don't do this kind of thing very often, although a lot of the great artists do. I do include a lot of lettering in street scenes and race car sponsor stuff over compound curves, so I'm not bothered by lettering, but typically I'm copying something that already exists. Here I get to figure out the font, the color, the placing and spacing of the whole thing. It needed to be elegant but not a hard-to-read script, big enough to read from a distance but not so big as to overpower the image. Painting is problem solving. I liked this combo and Ken supported my decisions with glowing reviews.

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