The mystical Miles Davis

I wanted to spend the first hour of my day doing something fast and funky.  I had mostly completed a large commission the day before, only needing to do some finishing touches before officially calling it done.  I felt like deviating to do something for me was the perfect choice to start the day.

I like to do time-lapse videos when my intent is to move quickly and get a piece done within a certain time window.  Having the camera rolling does two things.  First, it records the process in a way that is interesting for people to watch.  Second, it forces me to get out of my head and strictly respond in the moment to what happens.

Listening to the gravelly voice of Miles, and listening to his brilliant jazz compositions, was a great backdrop to the process of bringing this portrait to life.

I found something interesting the day I finished my recent portrait of Satchmo.  I discovered a new series of steps and a final flourish of downward brush strokes that seems to work exceptionally well.  I followed the same path with this portrait of Miles.

First step: sketch everything out with the blacks and fill with bold

Second step:  bring in flesh tones over top the bold

Third step:  bring back the bold a second time to balance out the piece

Final step:  apply the vertical brush strokes with contrasting colours on two sides of the hemispheres

Miles Davis, 16" x 20", acrylic on canvas

I'll be interested to find out if this method works with non-jazz artists in the same way.  There is something about the randomness of jazz that fits with this colourful and stylized approach to portraiture.  I'll find out. I'm going to see what happens with Hank Williams this morning.


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