Painting Leonard Nimoy
I first saw that Leonard Nimoy had died on Facebook. I instantly flipped over to the CNN and CBC websites to see if the news had landed there yet. It had not. This appeared to be just happening, with the news world likely scrambling to get information and verification. I went over to Twitter where tweets about the actor's passing at 83 were streaming in. This appeared to be real and soon was confirmed by the larger news organizations. There was a risk that it could have been another Morgan Freemanesque death hoax. Sadly, it wasn't.
The first suggestion to paint him - the thought hadn't occurred to me yet - came from Aileen on Twitter. Then Mark Herbster from my hometown commented on Facebook: "Sad news I guess you'll paint him". Best-selling author Terry Fallis was next: "I have a felling we'll soon be seeing a multicoloured Mr. Spock".
Three mild suggestions was all it took to get my creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, I was running a low-grade fever for much of the day and had to duck home early to take some meds and have a two-hour sleep before I was in any shape to draw.
New of Mr. Nimoy's death exploded on the Internet, as he cut through so many generations. He was just a few years older than my father, but he was a superstar of global proportions to Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millenials, and Gen Zs. While his acclaim was largely rooted in his Spock character from the Star Trek TV series (1966 - 1969) and myriad movies that were made starting in 1979, it was the character of his person that seemed to shine through. I guess that's why I chose to do a portrait of Leonard Nimoy the man, rather than Leonard Nimoy as Spock.
I could have waited to paint this one, but there is something more powerful when I paint in the moment, when many - in this case hundreds of millions - are thinking about the subject and feeling the loss. There have been too many of these subject in recent weeks, several that have hit rather close to home.
I work rather quickly; that is what I do. In the case of painting Leonard Nimoy, I began drawing after my two-hour nap about 4 pm and finished shortly after 8 pm.
This was quicker than most only because he gave me so much to work with and I was able to focus on the face as opposed to complicated clothing or things in the background. My paintings of Robin Williams and Joey D. took a similar amount of time and were also done in the moment, shortly after news of their passings hit.
The portrait was purchased almost as soon as I posted the finished product. It will live in a good home and spark many memories about the man, the goodness of his character, his creative spirit and wisdom he injected into Spock over many decades.
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