I knew from the moment I was struck with the impulse (notice I don't say "Idea", but "Impulse") to give one of my best friends the head of a crow that the resulting character would inevitably gain companions.
I've had a number of the characters milling around in my skull for more than a few years, but I never really knew what they were for until recently. Some are nightmares from my past. Some are permutations of characters I've come to know through books I've read, songs I've heard, or stories I've been told. I want to keep them rooted somehow in a reality that's tangible to the viewer. I've decided that I want to base these characters on some sort of photographic reference. That poses some interesting problems and possibilities for me. Thankfully these days we have the miracle of Photoshop, but that's only going to get me so far. I've got some very specific ideas about some of my new works. I'm sure that with enough web-dredging I'd be able to come up with an acceptable series of images upon which I could base my next piece. My problem with that is simple however: The images wouldn't be mine. With a very few exceptions I've always taken... exception to working from someone else's photos. There's a connection missing that keeps me at an uncomfortable distance. Like if I never knew the subject first-hand I'd never truly understand the context. I want these to be my own images or engineered by my hand at least. I've had some opportunities open up recently that might help with that. Oh the new-found joys of working in a studio setting. I'll have better access to models, decent lighting, and photographers who actually know what they're doing. I've got some pretty specific things in mind and I'm going to need a hand. I've been so used to walking around and finding the shots that show me potential. I stumbled on many of my favorite images. While I'm always open to the joys of the happy accident I want to try to achieve something more intentional. I really want to embrace a different way of working.
We'll see how I do. Frankly, I'm excited. So I'll introduce you to Cocktails with the Crimson King II: The Lucky One. This is a preliminary study and it's not finished, but I'm pleased with many things about him. We'll see how much of it makes it to the final painting. Doing studies like this has encouraged me to start including some larger charcoal work into my upcoming shows. I'm looking for recommendations on a good, over-sized charcoal paper. Let me know if you've got any favorites.
In the meantime I'm going to keep finding ways to help these guys and gals come out into the light... or at least a dim, lounge-y glow.