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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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