This is something that came out of pieces of sketches that were rejected, or just not chosen, or didn't work for whatever reason. I'd been doodling this image for a couple of months, so in between jobs I thought I'd pick away at it. It's more a product of absent minded drawing while doing something else than hard thinking.
I messed around in Painter to try to get some morte painterly textures......
I think I used just about every brush I could find for the flesh....
Dale - your best Bush portrait by far!
Stephen KroningerOctober 25, 2007
The Progressive, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Village Voice...
Robert SaundersOctober 25, 2007
Really nice paint on this, Dale. You know your sh*t, man.
daveBOctober 25, 2007
nice dale - love the turkey neck just in time for turkey time
BradOctober 26, 2007
I'm not sure what to think about this one. There are aspects that are great....
I like the narrow eyes - sort of analogous for his "views" and a great way of illustrating that.
I also like the paint textures and the depth that you've accomplished with the skin's surface. Nice.
I'm not sure about....
The perspective of the piece. I like how you've cropped the image, but I guess at the same time it sort of gives ol' Dub the larger than life appearance... which is arguable.
The background. I'm not sure what it is supposed to imply... Hell? The color sort of loses me. ??
The tie I'm not crazy about either. I think it's too literal and too stiff in it's execution. It looks like you used one coffin and copy/pasted it to create the tie. Often times I find that the most powerful message is the one that you have to discover, not the one that is laid out for you... basically what I'm saying is that a more subtle approach to the tie - a great concept for a very suitable subject - could have been more subtle.... perhaps only the knot is a coffin, or maybe the coffin shape is a texture patten in the cloth of the tie...or maybe it's one of those western ties (I can't think of the name) where the "knot" is the coffin and the two rope pieces look like actual rope - adding another level of meaning to it... I don't know.
So I'm saying that I think it has elements that have a lot of potential, but as a whole, there are things that aren't coming together... the "conceptual composition" if you will, isn't clear.
PEter CusackOctober 26, 2007
This is great. For me, the concept is not as much in the tie as it is in the so powerful portrait, the position of the eyes on the picture plain, how his brow is cropped, eyes cast in shadow, the powerfully sculpted forms and features, the pursed lips, the pov, the squint. I'm left with an uneasy feeling, which is linked, to the profound effect this man has had on our country, future and world. The tie makes me very sad. The coffins get increasingly larger as does the numbers.
fuchsOctober 26, 2007
nice piece dale. i like the composition and execution a lot.
and the likeness is obviously spot on. have to agree with brad on the concept though. this one's an "almost". it has a bit of a "get it, get it?" feel to it due to the multiple coffins that aren't necessary to convey the idea (which is strong, by the way). it would have been stronger a little more subtle i think...then again, maybe you wanted to make a point of the numbers of deaths or something...that surely would be more than five though...just trying to say that one coffin speaks a broader message...or something...it's early, i need coffee...
Dale StephanosOctober 26, 2007
Thanks for the excellent comment. Brad, first you kick my ass on the bike, now you come in here and give a rock solid critique. No more after ride cookies for you!
My first impulse is usually to exaggerate, go way over the line to make a point, and only after a bit of reflection to limp back to a more reasonable, subtle solution. My point with the multiple caskets is obvious - the sheer volume of bodies that are coming home from the war - but I think you guys have a point in saying that less may be more on this point. And yes, they are copy/pasted. Hey, if you have that c and v key, use 'em! But with the overly rendered look of the rest of the piece, I agree that it looks a bit cheap in comparison.
Really, what I was trying to get at was an elegant solution that conveyed how I feel about this war. After reading your comments, I agree with you guys, it's almost, but not quite there.
Since this was a self generated piece rather than a job, there was no vetting of ideas or concepts or composition. It was just some doodles making their way into one another. If this was an actual job, maybe these issues would have been ironed out. Most likely, the client would have seen their mistake and just said "never mind" (joke)
Rob DunlaveyOctober 26, 2007
For what it's worth Dale, I agree with all the comments put forth so far. After I read them and looked back at the image and the coffin/tie, the idea struck me that maybe W's head is balanced on top of all those precariously piled up coffins. Kind of creepy but an interesting graphic idea to run with (if I do say so myself!).
Hanoch PivenOctober 26, 2007
"Brad, first you kick my ass on the bike, .."
that answered the question whether Brad was Holland...
I must say I think the idea of the coffins is a strong one.
Perhaps as a quick OP ED piece, people wouldn't have mind it that much. It might be that next to such an elaborate painting it just takes away from the painting or does not speak in the same language.
This painting doesn't need a quick 'idea' in it. It is strong as is.
HendrixFanOctober 28, 2007
I do not have the artistic talent or experience as the other people who have left comments here. My two cents is that this illustration is fantastic. Stuff like this makes me miss seeing your work in the Herald.
I recently glimpsed through a guitar magazine and thought I recognized similar stylings to the illustrations. Was that you too? Just curious.
Dale StephanosOctober 29, 2007
Hey, thanks again for the thoughtful comments. I've seen cases when an artist will overdraw or overpaint to hide the fact that the drawing or painting just ain't that good. The same goes with ideas. What do they say about the law? When you have the law, pound the facts, when you don't pound the table. Something like that. Anyway, maybe this particular idea isn't worth all that work up there, but I do like the painting, so I'll try to refine it.
Hendrix Fan, the artist who did the Guitar magazine art is the amazing Jason Seiler. He's one of those young guys whose talent is really frightening to old bastids like me. The thing that I really hate about him is that he seems to be such a good guy.
Doug HochFebruary 19, 2008
I love the light coming through his left ear, that makes it for me.