Saturday, July 23, 2011
About thirty years ago I bought a three foot by four foot stretched canvas. I was much younger and full of youthful ambitions. One of which was to do a nice, large painting of something. Prior to this, the largest painting I had done was a six foot tall mural of Burt Silverman's cover to the Aqualung album by Jethro Tull.
This canvas would over the years accumulate around a dozen aborted paintings. There were portraits of Pete Rose, Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of my daughters, a few landscapes, and various illustrations that for one reason or the other just didn't pan out. I began to think the canvas was cursed. It was either that or the fact that my abilities were limited, and it couldn't be that!!
So fast forward to this year, and after toting this canvas to an apartment and two houses over the years I decided to try again. The photo reference I used was taken from a book by author David Skal. I originally saw the photo online somewhere, in a very small format. I thought it was such a great, unusual shot of Bela Lugosi in his definitive role I had to paint it. Skal's book had a larger version that was just fine to use as reference.
Painting it went pretty smooth, and when it came down to just finishing his hands and a bit of the background I hit the wall. Classic artistic block, big time! I really wanted to finish it and get it behind me, and break the "curse" so set my mind to it and got it done!