My First PortraitJune 8, 2021
David Bowie – My first portrait
‘David Bowie-Drip Portrait’
30H x 24W inches
Oil on Canvas
What initially began as a commission, thinking ‘I don’t really do human portraits’, this seemed like a huge task and well out of my comfort zone. However, once I began it seemed I was worrying far too much! It was actually very refreshing and highly enjoyable doing something so different to my usual subjects and style. Don’t get me wrong, it was not easy, in fact when I first sent the photo of it to the client, they had quite a bit of constructive criticism and so I was quite deflated at that point and went back to it to improve it. This was a blessing in disguise, I lost the commission as I took too long to complete it - it was supposed to be a birthday present, then Christmas present and I had taken too much time altering it, so it was not ready for either of the dates. I was disappointed yes, but it was such a great experience to have been challenged so far from my safety net and I was adamant to finish the piece to a high standard no matter how long it took, and I feel it was worth it in the end, especially considering it is my very first human portrait. I am proud to say it is my creation and I am glad it was commissioned even if it wasn’t sold to the client at the end because I would never have created it had they not requested it.
The piece was created using oil paint and refined linseed oil to create the ‘drip’ finish. It’s the first human portrait painting I’ve ever done, using the album cover ‘Aladdin Sane’ as my reference. I wanted to create a contemporary feel to the image as well as keeping to my own unique style. I’m fascinated with colour and texture, and creating expressive, fantastical backgrounds with depth and details to draw the audience in for a closer inspection of the surface textures and qualities created. I hope to achieve a contemporary expressionist style of portrait, yet still for the subject, in this case David Bowie, to be easily recognisable and the first impact to achieve an emotive reaction from the viewer. The background colour choice was determined by the client who had originally commissioned the piece and although they did not purchase it in the end, I had grown fond of it and kept the colour blue.
I have since entered the painting into the Visual Art Open 2021 Uk & International Emerging Artist Competition along with another of my pieces - ‘The Magnificent Elephant – No 2-with gold leaf’, (30inch x 24inch/76cm x 61cm), Oil on canvas with 24ct Gold Leaf - Vulnerable to extinction (VE).