Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Water Damaged Photo Surfaces As Painting

September 5, 2017
   Invariably, when I am doing a book on a historical figure, I always want to illustrate the missing elements of their story. In the case of Wild Bill Hickok, I am intrigued by Agnes Lake and her first husband, Bill Lake. In spite of them being circus performers there is not a lot of coverage on their lives. For example, if they had a wedding photo taken, what would that look like?

Water Damaged Photo Surfaces As Painting
   I hate water damaged photos but if you deal with old photos, it's a fact of life. And, eventually the damage takes on a beauty all by itself. Plus, it makes an image look more authentic.

   So, last weekend my goal was to do a wedding portrait of Mr. and Mrs. William Lake and make it appear as if it only recently surfaced after years in a gambler's trunk. Here is my study:

Daily Whip Out: "Lake Wedding"

"The only thing a gambler needs is a suitcase and a trunk. . ."
—The Animals, House of The Rising Sun

Stealing From The Best
   I spend inordinate amounts of time looking for authentic costumes and, or, inspiration from other artists. I want to get the clothes and the look of the times right. First stop is my library of books featuring painters from that time period. This is a good example.

I pride myself on always stealing from the best: in this case, Degas.

Not sure if this dress is entirely accurate, but I like the mood: Norman Rockwell

   Went home for lunch and whipped out this first pass at it. It's a little too red, but you get the idea:

Daily Whip Out: "Mr. Mrs. Lake Wedding, No. 1"
   Decided it needed another layer of definition and "noise" so I got up this morning (Wednesday) and added another couple washes:

Daily Whip Out Tweak: "Mr. & Mrs. Lake Wedding, No. 2"

"That a thing made by hand, the work and thought of a single craftsman, can endure much longer than its maker, through centuries in fact, can survive natural catastrophe, neglect, and even mistreatment, has always filled me with wonder."
—Susan Vreeland, author who died this week at age 71

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