Acrylic on Illustration Board
18″ x 24″
Before the days of the internet and the endless array of photos available, I would browse through my large collection of photography magazines for inspiring images. I had a folder that was stapled on 2 sides that I would keep all my clipped photos in. This photo of Jean Harlow was one of the shots I always kept coming back to in this reference file and one that I have painted at least 3 times. This photo was of the 2nd attempt at painting the image in the late 90’s. The dramatic light and shadow always captured my attention and the image was one that I would use to practice and refine my freehand airbrushing ability. It was incredibly challenging to paint with the drastic and smooth transitions in the tonal ranges. All 3 times I had painted the image were done live in a public setting so that people could watch as I painted. This is a piece I would like to paint once again in it’s entirety. At the time I had cropped out a lot of the original photo as I didn’t feel confident enough in my painting abilities to be able to complete the painting in one sitting and do the image justice. Painting this image had taught me a tremendous amount in a short period. One of the biggest things it taught me was how to cover up mistakes and keep rolling like nothing had happened. This is evidenced in the mole on Jean’s cheek. This was not in the original image and was painted to cover up a splatter caused by a clog in the airbrush. Because of that mole almost everyone who looked at the painting confused it with Marilyn Monroe. Another subject of a few early portraits of mine that also had wandering moles.