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“Beyond the Goalpost” by former Pittsburgh Steeler, Andy Russell

“Beyond the Goalpost” by former Pittsburgh Steeler, Andy Russell

In October 2009, Denny had the privilege of creating all the cover graphics for former Pittsburgh Steeler, Andy Russell's new book titled Beyond The Goalpost. Denny's oil painting of Andy was featured along with a photograph of Three Rivers Stadium taken by photographer, David B. King from Washington D.C. The foreword was written by the famous Hall of Fame member, running back and former Pittsburgh Steeler, Franco Harris.The back cover features this famous photograph of Former Steeler Linebackers, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Andy Russell. This photograph was taken to showcase what is still an NFL Record. These three linebackers went to 24 Pro Bowls! This is Andy's third book. The inside front cover flap reads in his own words: Andy has always been attracted to athletic challenge, adventure and possibly even danger. In this book Andy tries to understand what it was that drove him as a young child, and to recall who were his mentors and especially ask himself why he was so driven to pursue what many would consider dangerous sporting activities - for example: professional football, mountain climbing, wilderness canoeing, cave exploring, and scuba diving. In some ways this book could be considered a biography as…

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Andy Russel #34 Painting

Art Institute of Pittsburgh Alumni Show 2009

Denny has been invited to show two of his pieces of artwork for the 2009 Annual Alumni Show at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Denny's two pieces of art are the original oil painting of former Pittsburgh Steeler, Andy Russell and a pencil study of Hall of Famer and former Pittsburgh Steeler, "Bullet" Bill Dudley. Both pieces are on loan by Art Rooney, Jr., owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The dates of the show will be from October 5th through November 27th, 2009 and the reception will be held on Friday, November 20th in the evening.

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Painting of Last of the Real Cowboys

Work In Progress – Last of the Real Cowboys

This is someone else who quickly became a good friend that I met early in 2008. His name is Gene Hartung. Gene lives right across the Buffalo Bill Dam from us in Cody, Wyoming. My wife, Leigh ran into him in downtown Cody. Leigh knows exactly the kind of faces I am constantly on the lookout for. She immediately asked him if he would pose for me. He told her how my mentor, James Bama, had asked him that very same question several years earlier. Gene agreed to pose for Bama, but what a shame that Bama never painted him! His loss was my gain. During a driving snow storm in 2008, we did my photo shoot at his log home. I actually posed him in the exact same clothes Bama did, except for a different shirt. Gene had a favorite saddle as a young cowboy. It had completely worn out and was long gone by then. Since the Bama shoot, Gene had taken up saddle making. He wanted to make an exact copy of his own saddle, and that he set out to do. He had never made a saddle before. Working totally from memory, he actually made four…

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Painting of First Snow

Work In Progress – First Snow

This is my first painting of Michael Bad Hand Terry. Bad Hand is his given Indian name. Michael is an accomplished Actor, Stuntman, Authenticity Expert and Technical Consultant for nearly 50 motion pictures including Dances With Wolves and Last of the Mohicans. He is currently the nation's renowned authority on Plains Indian history. Michael's journeys take him all across the USA where he teaches, lectures and entertains the curious public on Plains Indian history, culture, and corrects many of the myths and untruths propagated and compounded by generations of television and inaccurate historical portrayal. Michael's mission is to undo the misunderstandings about the Native Americans from history and show the kinder, gentler side of their survival as a culture. Michael was kind enough to pose for me in Pinedale, Wyoming in July 2006. All the clothing, regalia, props, jewelry and such are made by hand by Michael to accurately reflect Native American history. Michael is careful to explain, educate and nullify myths and legends about the Plains Indians history through demonstration, story-telling and careful and accurate responses to questions posed by his audiences. Michael has posed and been painted for the last 30 plus years by the likes of Frank…

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Painting of Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill

Work In Progress – Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill

This is Alan Baker of Cody, Wyoming in character as a middle-aged, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. The photo reference used was taken by my wife, Leigh, when we were in Cody, Wyoming, September of 2004. This study was the first of many photos that Alan so graciously posed for. The greatest thing about this photo is that it was totally candid. We stepped onto the porch of Buffalo Bill's historical hotel, The Irma, named for his daughter. Alan was waiting patiently for his turn to play his part in the nightly Cody Gunfighters re-enactment when Leigh snapped the photo. This is an acrylic painting on 1/8" thick museum-grade Masonite board. The Masonite is gesso-covered board called "Gessobord" made by Ampersand. The overall size of this painting is 16" x 20". This was my first painting in 34 years. I started my process by penciling the major lines to the board. This is version one after applying the paint to the background, his Stetson and his face. Version two shows the under-base for Alan's hair. I added more under-base to his face. Version three shows more of the middle layers of his hair with much more to come. I also started…

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Troy Polamalu Strong Safety Painting

Work In Progress – Troy Polamalu – Strong Safety Painting

This is version one of my "work-in-progress" of Troy's oil painting. This piece is being done on a specially prepared 1/8" Masonite board. It is called "Claybord" manufactured by the Ampersand company. The board has a base layer of white clay, over-layed with a coating of Gesso. The surface is rather smooth. It has just enough tooth to help pull the paint from the brush. It is considerably more of a smoother surface than most canvas surfaces. The two biggest advantages are that the Masonite is a lot more stable and durable than a canvas and the smooth surface lets me get a more desirable "realistic" finished piece. The oil painting is quite a bit bigger than the pencil study. Troy's image is just shy of being life-size. The Claybord is 18" x 24" overall and I paint edge-to-edge. After drawing all my lines on the board, I started painting Troy's helmet and face. As you can see, having the face guard over his face gives an added challenge to make sure all the spaces between the bars look like they all look like they go with his face. It sounds simple but you are dealing with many different colors…

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Troy Polamalu – Strong Safety Pencil illustration

Work In Progress – Troy Polamalu – Strong Safety Pencil

This is the first installment of the "work-in-progress" for Troy Polamalu's pencil study. This will aid in the process of working into the oil painting that is coming next. The pencil study helps to work out any hard to see details and techniques to get the right textures, shading, shadows and so on. The overall image size is 10" x 16" where as the oil will be 18" x 24" overall. I started by hand-rubbing in the cloudy background. It is achieved by applying powdered charcoal using a Kleenex tissue on my index finger. You can see the charcoal I am using on the piece of paper in the photograph below. Most of the actual drawing is done with German-made "Faber-Castell" drawing pencils. I use a very soft lead. The pencils are 6B and 8B grade. A normal "school pencil" is usually a 2B. This is how I am able to achieve the darkest of darks. It is very hard to keep a good point on the pencils and they do require frequent sharpening. Thank God for electric sharpeners! The first "work-in-progress" picture of Troy was done in 5-6 hours. In the second picture, I am 9-10 hours into the…

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