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Submitted on
November 26, 2006
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102 KB


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Charlie 'Bird' Parker by Laurazee Charlie 'Bird' Parker by Laurazee
Charlie "Bird" Parker
Acrylic on Canvas, 20" wide X 30" tall

Source from Charlie Parker at Birdland, New York, 1949 photo.

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.
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Feebius13 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love him, and this. If only he'd lived past the age of 34. Keep it up!
feldrand Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
yessss, i used to listen a lot to him... i once found a cheap record of him with gillespie... some club reordings with a very nice rough live atmosphere, you hear the people talking and shouting... just some two weeks ago i listened to that again... quite cool still, but a bit to much and too uptempo for me now... :D
i prefer smoother things nowadays - like very old herbie hancock... :D
Laurazee Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I agree. I tend more towards darker, down-tempo stuff, too.
feldrand Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
yes, yes - we grow older, haha... :D
iksaxophone Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2011
This really captures the essence of Bird's looks to me as if he's playing Star Eyes :+favlove:
By the way, his face actually blends quite well with the rest of portrait.
Laurazee Featured By Owner May 15, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much (and my apologies for the way-late response). I've been meaning to do a series of jazz musicians with similar backgrounds and the colors that represent them. :hug:
iksaxophone Featured By Owner May 16, 2011
Cool! I can't wait to see them. Don't worry about the late response ;-) no biggie!
bailamelagua Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2010  Student
Amazing draw and amazing musician!
Laurazee Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! He's awesome, for sure. :D
fanny831 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2009  Student General Artist
Amazing! your style is so wonderful. this is an amazing portrait :dance:
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