Charlie "Bird" Parker
Acrylic on Canvas, 20" wide X 30" tall
Source from Charlie Parker at Birdland, New York, 1949
Charlie Parker, 1920-1955, was arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time and a founding father of bebop. Brilliant, addicted, died at age 35. The photo was taken in 1949 at the nightclub named after him.
This is my first portrait in - what, twelve years? Difficult to work from black and white scanned newsprint; had to make up some of the lines. The face is pretty realistic compared to the rest of him, but I haven't learned how to abstract faces and leave them recognizable without veering into caricature territory. It looks like him in that anyone who is familiar with that photo will recognize the layout, I guess. I wanted to focus on the face and the saxophone and get lots of warm high-impact color in there.
Portraits are fiddly... you keep wanting to play with them long after they're officially done. I know there was at least one time this weekend when I scrounged up my crumpled-up disposable palette paper out of the garbage to add a few more highlights. There's always some minute detail to play with. I'm done for now, though.