Returning to Waylon

Last week, I ended up doing two portraits of James Hetfield, lead singer of Metallica.  I have no explanation for it, except that it happened.  I'm not a heavy metal guy, nor could I have previously picked out Mr. Hetfield in police line-up.  I feel a lot more familiar with him now that his two portraits of arrived at their destinations: Mission, BC and Battleford, Saskatchewan.

This has been Waylon Jennings week in Birdsong Studio.  Again, for no specific reason, except that I had two clients patiently waiting for a very long time for me to get them done. 

The first adventure with "Hoss",  a knife painting, is still in the process of drying.  I'm surprised how long it takes using this method.  The client would have come by to pick him up yesterday but some of the paint ridges are still soft.  It needs a few more days to fully cure.

The second Waylon portrait came together yesterday afternoon and evening.  Interestingly, Waylon was being fickle with this one.  I didn't see him for the longest time. 

I've become somewhat methodical with portraits like this.  I created the background first, which took some time and experimenting.  It went through several iterations before getting to where it is now.  I then went in and covered the dark areas with several coats of payne's grey before starting on the face.  As the features came together - eyes, nose, ear, cheeks, etc. - the portrait was looking like someone else.  Liam Neeson pops to mind.  I remember thinking to myself that if they ever made a movie of the life of Waylon, put a beard and mustache on Mr. Neeson and he'd be a ringer for Hoss. Then I made one small change.

I stretched out his left eye, just a little, and BOOM!  There he was in all his glory.  One small micro adjustment and the man emerged.

I do a lot of portraits, but this is one that I'm particularly happy with.  I feel like I'm slowly getting better and that many lessons learned over hundreds of painting projects came together in this tribute to Waylon. 


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