Thursday, November 10, 2011

Working for the Hell of It

I've been working on some paintings and drawing more in my sketchbook the last couple weeks since work has slowed down. Above are a couple of pages from my current sketchbook. The page at the top was from a photo of one of the Russian women who was a survivor of Chernobel and the ever lovely  Toni Czechorosky, one of the best life models in LA, and always a remarkable conversationalist. Not only are the poses superb, but the drawing sessions are never boring. The life models on the other page are all from sessions at Bill Stout's workshop, and the background images are just me doodling away to create an interesting composition.

This is a painting I just finished of Jon Hamm of "Madmen" fame. I thought I would try a more appropriate Don Draper by surrounding him with iconic ad art images of that era, so the pencil below is my attempt at that. The background images are from illustrations by Al Parker, Coby Whitmore, and Bob Peak. The other pencil study is of Bill Nighy, who is currently in the PBS spy thriller by John LeCarre, "Page Eight."

Living in LA I've really been blessed with an incredible selection of life drawing models over the years and two of my favorites are Sara and Cassandra, who were the inspiration for my Retrowood story, "The Gypsy Twins." I've been working on some new paintings of each of them with different degrees of success. Below is a frame from that story and below that the latest painting of Cassandra.

More than any model I know, Sara brings a sense of drama and story to every pose she creates. In the photo session we did a couple years back she used this incredible cloak as a costume and a prop combined, and the hourglass was also her addition. I threw in the cats, raven and rune stone backdrops. While I love the compostion and story of the dancing cats, I was unhappy with fleshtones on the one painting. I was much happier with them on the hourglass piece. But, with models like these, it's difficult not to come up with something that works.

And here is one I did a while back of Sara which gave me a chance to try a study one of Picasso's paintings. Jezebel, the one time mistress of the household,  managed to wander into this one.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful stuff as always, Mike. The backgrounds in your Don Draper pencil sketch is a touch of genius. The Jon Hamm painting is right on the spot. Sara and Cassandra breathe life into their contributions to your work. I like the hourglass painting best of all, there's a unique pin-up quality there which is highly reminiscent of early Playboy centerfold work. Truly outstanding, lovely work.