Lately I’ve been hard at work on a commission. The assignment was for me to paint 11 figures of the clients friends, himself, his girlfriend and a blues musician in a fictional bar in New Orleans.
For the pictures, he provided me photographs of all the subjects. Needless to say this isn’t ideal, considering they’re all mostly front-facing busts and the composition requires a variety of different poses.
Not only do I have to rotate the heads in my mind and render them on the page based only on a photograph, but I have to create each of the figures mostly out of whole cloth with just a few generic references.
It’s always better to draw from life, of course, but this is a gift and a surprise, so it can’t be helped.
If you view the Flickr slideshow documenting my progress so far, you see I layered the pencil drawing first in primary colored washes. Then, I layer the paint so that a little of the underlying layer shows through.
This is a handy technique for creating atmosphere, and giving flesh a translucence. I use this technique for all my major acrylic paintings and illustrations, like “Jazz Painting #4,” “Harem Painting,” and “Jazz Painting #5”
You’ll notice in the background I’ve added a marching band, spectators and a couple of women flashing their tits (these aren’t fully rendered as of this posting.)
If you look close, you can see little clues as to the location of bar, though most of these will be difficult to see until the painting is done.
For instance, the Fleur d’Elise is a motif throughout the image, among other clues.
The slideshow featured in this post will update automatically as I add more images documenting its progress. Shouldn’t be too long — I set a deadline to have it done by the end of the month.