Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PJ's Portrait

I have been asking PJ for a while what he wanted for his 40th birthday and he always said the same thing.... a large gold framed oil painting of himself and our dog!  He is RIDICULOUS, but he was adamant that that was what he wanted. I googled "gentlemen portrait" to get some ideas and found this guy. (He actually looks a little like PJ with the beard and all)
Then I spotted this on a "framed art sale" for 2.99 at a thrift store. It was big and gold framed and the cardboard with the landscape printed on it was in good enough shape that I could paint directly on it, avoiding any issues of disassembling a frame.
To hide the landscape, and create instant (fake) oil paint texture, I brushed on a quick coat of gesso.  Gesso is super thick super sticky white paint that allows almost any surface to be painted. Here is the finished, textured and ready to paint surface.
Next, I cheated!  I photo shopped PJ's face onto the "gentleman's portrait" and projected it onto the frame using an LCD projector.  Within about 5 minutes, I had used this paint by numbers approach to get the skin and background started.
Here is the exact same step in the process, but with the projector turned ON so I could see the details that I needed to paint.  I would alternate between looking at the projection and standing in front of the projection so that I saw my work only.

After about an hour, I had done about all that I could with the projector.  I just couldn't see enough details that way, but this is how far I got. I also added our dog from a separate picture. I had to free hand the shape of PJs hand and I am still not happy with it.  I work MUCH better from a photo than from my imagination!
Now came the detail work.  I pulled up the reference pictures on my computer, zoomed in to the necessary level of detail, and painted away for a couple of hours.
Here is the finished portrait.   
 I think it is SO silly, but that is what PJ wanted.  I set it up on a wall at PJ's "mustache bash" surprise party and taped on a speech bubble saying "All HAIL the Birthday Boy!"
And now the painting is hanging at PJs shop, right next to all the random car parts and old bicycles.  Random and ridiculous, just like PJ!  Enjoy your gift, Old Man!

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