About that bicyclist...

(original, uncropped painting can be found here.) Four years ago I was hanging out on the VA Beach boardwalk with some friends from my church. We were people watching and one man caught my eye. Actually, he snatched my eyeball out of my skull with his shiny electric blue biker gear. And his mohawk helmet.

He must have seen me watching, or maybe he noticed my camera, because he waved me over and asked me to take his picture.

"You want me to take your photo?" a little surprised.

"Yea, man. You don't think I'm interesting enough? I'm a 6 foot tall black man in a mohawk helmet. You should take my picture, show your friends. Then you'll always have me around."

Fair enough.

I took some shots, then we chatted for a while. He told me his life story, less than half of which sounded believable. But that's how stories are. I was enjoying the conversation, then he asked me what I was doing that night and if I knew where any parties were happening. I briefly considered inviting him to our "ladies group, movie night" but figured he didn't look like a "Strictly Ballroom" kind of guy.

I brought it up anyway.

He politely declined.

I told him I'd let him know if I heard of anything better going on.

After I got home I browsed through the photos from our trip. When I came across Blue Biker Guy's pics they were mostly out of focus. And he was talking. I got a kick out seeing them, but quickly forgot about them.

Four years later it was late at night, everyone was asleep and I wanted to draw. I began looking through old photos to find something. You know how images trigger memories you thought you'd buried? I really did laugh out loud when he popped up on the screen. How many people verbally demand to be remembered? It was like he was daring me to draw him.

Challenge accepted, Random Biker Dude.

I sketched his portrait that night using all of the photos, trying to get his features right with the awkward poses and blurred lines of his face. The results weren't fabulous, but it was fun. In the weeks that followed, I found myself drawing other men with his helmet on. The sketches evolved, the mohawk disappeared, he grew a beard.

Then I decided to make a painting. The Virginia Beach Bicyclist may look nothing like the man I met four years ago, yet there's no mistaking him when I look at the painting.

Thanks for the memories, Mohawk Man.

New Bird

preliminary drawing...

and the values blocked in.

Experimenting with new trickery on this one.  I do so miss working with textures...

Confession: I am a futzer.

Futz: –verb (used with object) 1. to mess with. to alter. to change.

2. to obsess. to revise. to pick at minute details.

3. to become completely anal about the tiniest line, hair, or texture. to obsessively measure and re-measure values, shapes and colors. To scrape off entire sections of a painting just because you didn't like the direction of that one brush stroke.

That's me. I futz. I futz because I am not satisfied with the way my painting looks. Because I don't want to call it done. Because I'm not ready to move on to the next thing.

And that, my darling internet, is exactly why it took me so long to post this final image of my finished painting.

I'm calling her J2/4.

I'm also calling her done.

If you would like to see my WIP shots of this one, they are here, and here and also here.

If you'd like to see all the futzing I did after those last posts, click to read the rest of this one...

Here you'll see that I changed the size and shape of her left eye, then I went and did the same for her right. Multiple glazes had shrunk them to incorrect proportions, so that needed to be done.

Then I attacked her background, her hair, her lips, her forehead and her eyelashes.

It was a brutal and violent assault, thankfully we all survived.

On the easel

hair filled in, glazes added I've shaped her face more, started giving it texture and freckles. Also blocked in her hair for the most part.

face shaped, eyes defined, nose ring added

Lots of little detail stuff here that might not show up well in a photo- defined her eyes and chin, added more freckles, adjusted her lips.

The biggest bugger in this stage was her nose ring- of all things. A steel post was too contrasty with her skin tone- it became the highlight of the image and- it being steel, didn't have much reflection. Last thing I wanted this to be was a painting about an unfortunate metalic growth on her face, so I had to ditch that. Went for gold instead which isn't too contrasty and has a nice shine to it.

ahh. bettah.

Part 1

Part 2

Hummer painting, WIP

entertaining ideas for names at this point. I've ruled out "NFL draft picks, RiffTrax, and NCIS" - all stuff I watched while making it. Which means, those are the first things I think of when I look at it. super secret name

Maybe... it's time for me to step away for a while? ^_^

Updated to add: yea... I changed the background to the site. It may look familiar...

sneaky-peek

flowerhumprogsm haven't got a name for this one yet. Maybe I'll call it "Alfred".

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No, not seriously.

sorry for the dark pics. been working at night, lately.

was amused last night when my daughter walked in on me working on this. She's totally my best critic. Without hesitation she's like "did you come up with a color palette FIRST this time??" LOL

Thank God I have her to keep me in line.

(the answer was yes. I took three tubes of paint and hid all the others from myself.)