A while back I caught Texas governor Rick Perry on the Daily Show. With his great hair, ruggedly weathered face and easy, smooth smile I thought that if I were ever to cast the role of Satan for a movie, this gentleman would be my first call. So imagine my delight when Mark Hogue from the Dallas Morning News called a few weeks later to ask if I’d whip up a portrait of the man they named Texan of the Year….Governor Rick Perry.
Michael explained that Perry is either a love him or hate him kind of guy, but they’d rather not have an obvious editorial slant in the picture. I’m hoping that I was subtle enough.
My inspiration for the tone of this piece. While I have the feeling that the Texas governor is a wolf in Wolf's clothing, I think Zimm is a sheep in Wolf's clothing. This will probably get me booted from the premises....
Nice PortraitJanuary 4, 2011
Nice treatment of the suit / background to frame the face.
Victor JuhaszJanuary 4, 2011
This is really good. Can you explain the process a little?
Steve WacksmanJanuary 4, 2011
Just beautiful. Your recent portraits are 'next level' work, Dale.
DaleJanuary 4, 2011
Thanks Vic. Michael requested that it NOT be a caricature, which was nice because it was a challenge. So I just went as strictly realistic as I could and rendered the living bejeezus out of it without trying to be photographic. As inspiration I used a photo of Zimm that I shot late at night in a bar in New York. There was all this red back light and I couldn't make out his features as I talked to him and kept thinking "He looks like the devil". If you've met Zimm, which I know you have, he has an infectious laugh that's a little diabolical. It was pure serendipity that these two elements intersected.
Normally I would have "finished" the jacket and shirt, but with all that work in the face I just felt that if you didn't have enough information yet the texture of his clothing certainly wouldn't help you out. I hope it helps provide some hard lines I felt needed to be shown.
DaleJanuary 4, 2011
Douglas FraserJanuary 4, 2011
This is a graphic beauty. Not sure about the subject, and his policies, but as the illustrator you nailed it. Zimm in the red light part of town, hmmm... interesting inspiration. What the two of you were up to might be good subject for a Zimm portrait.
Adam McCauleyJanuary 4, 2011
That's a real beaut, Dale.
harryJanuary 4, 2011
I've seen this guy, serpent angle would be good too. I think he's the one who wanted to build a whole load of new coal burning power plants. I like all your work but particularly the straight portraits.
Zimm is a sheep??
Tim OBrienJanuary 4, 2011
I like it Dale. When I do a portrait on an extremely toned panel by toning the gesso, the finished drawing looks like this. I've always liked this stage but mine does not have the brushwork yet. Your piece marries the two looks.
Happy New Year to you, Maria and the kids.
Marc January 4, 2011
Nice portrait, but an awful subject! I speak as one of his subjects: he's held the office since Bush handed the state over to him in 2000. They call him Governor Goodhair down here.
Mark FisherJanuary 5, 2011
Real fine Dale, the graphic suit and shirt base the detailed head so well.
John DykesJanuary 5, 2011
Cool stuff Dale...
Leo EspinosaJanuary 6, 2011
The simple pallet and the contrast of the intricate head against the very graphic suit work very well, Dale.
It would make a terrific book or magazine cover.
DaleJanuary 6, 2011
Thanks again folks.
Harry, you know Zimm ain't no sheep. I used the wrong metaphor. If anything he's a shepherd with a big ass gun.
Tim, thanks. It feels like after two decades I'm still trying to find my way. I normally would have continued down the path towards a more finished look. As I get older I've found I enjoy not having every question answered in life. It's like a magician showing you how it's done. You end up shrugging and going on to the next, whatever that may be. Maybe this piece reflects that a bit. Maybe not.
Marc, thanks. I have a cousin in Texas who tells me that Perry is the reason Texas is the fastest growing state in the union. I know next to nothing about Texas and the current governor other than my spidey senses told me that danger was near when I saw Perry smiling and waving on the tv.
Doug, Adam, John, Leo, Thanks!