My journey with Gord

I had been fearing the large canvas intended for a new Gord Downie portrait for about a month.  I had sketched it out some time ago and left it leaning against some other canvases in the corner.  At 60" x 48", it would take my complete attention for a number of days.

After completing my accidental portrait of Roger Daltrey of The Who, I felt like it was time.  I set up the large canvas on my traveling easel - it is much easer to adjust up and down - then started with the face and hat.  While I do my best to stay out of my head during these painting projects, I certainly crafted a strategy to approach the work.  Where normal I work from left to right, because of the awkward large size the canvas, I would work top to bottom.

Most of Saturday was spent going from the face, scarf, shirt, arms and pants.  I spent the last few hours bringing in the background.

I went back to the blue for this one because no other colour was calling to me.  I added in some teal and white.  The lighter background seems to bring out the intense joy in his face.  I really wanted it to seem like is was singing a song in heaven. 

You may wonder why I've returned to Gord Downie a number of times.  In three of the four cases, they were special requests and/or commissions.  People with deep and abiding love for Gord felt that a painting by me would help in some way.  The emotion that I have put in these paintings is not my own; it is that of others.

Generally speaking, I'm not a rock guy.  My natural musical tastes lie in different genres.  However, through my four journeys with Gord I have developed an appreciation for his music and a profound respect for the man.  I've heard personal accounts from clients who knew him and in each is a common thread: he loved music and he loved people. 

I'm going to title this one "Song in heaven", because that's where my heart kept going to as it was coming together.  I have some small things to do to finish this painting, small adjustments and final details, then it will be ready for the client. 


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