Monday, January 11, 2016

Portrait - Young Debbie Harry (Vaguely NSFW)

This is another entry in my series of practice celeb portraits.  This is a reproduction of a well know picture of Debbie Harry in the earlier days of Blondie.

Acrylic on 5x7 canvas board
Full confession:  I have seen the original image countless times over the years but it wasn't until I started painting this that I realized that she's not wearing any pants.  Like, None. At. All.

Awkward.

I decided to tackle that aspect of the image with a lot of shading, because I have observant kids, and while I think I could deal with a conversation of "Mom, why are you painting that woman's vulva?" "Because PUNK ROCK, honey," truth be told, I didn't really want to. 

Also any  attempt I made to do otherwise resulted in a "HOLY NAKED CROTCH BATMAN" level of unsubtlety.

So, in short, we get shadows.

Originally I was going to stick to shades of blue for the entire picture, but I decided to add some pinkish-purplish tones to differentiate skin from T-shirt, and also to make her hair standout. I opted to make use of negative space for her hair to really give that platinum blonde kind of look.

Things I like: This piece has a very watercolor-y slap-dash look that I like.  My attempt at recreating the Doctor X on Ms. Harry's t-shirt included a little too much retarder, which resulted in the runny messy look.  I liked it, so I kept it.  There were a lot of little "happy accidents" that ended up contributing to the overall feel of the piece.

Things I don't so much like: While I feel like I'm getting better at somewhat proportional faces, they all seem to end up very generic looking to me. The pose is recognizable, but overall I don't feel like it really looks much like Debbie Harry at all.  More like a cool picture of a generic pants-less blonde singer.

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