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Painting of 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.

Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 01

Version two shows the under-base for Alan’s hair. I added more under-base to his face.

Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 02

Version three shows more of the middle layers of his hair with much more to come. I also started the process of painting the soft leather fringed coat.

Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 03

Version four, I painted in the full under-base of his coat.

Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 04

On version five, I added many of the details and darker shadow areas on his coat. I also laid down the white areas of his embroidered shirt. You can see in the final version, the many hours of work to paint in all the embroidered roses and leaves. Also, if you look closely, you can see the whole piece had many small details added to all areas. All the shading on his face was then completed. The last layers of his hair was added. I put the last coat on the background and then signed it. This piece took roughly fifty hours to complete.

Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 05

Here are three close-ups to see some of the details up-close and personal. Thanks for riding along. Stay tuned, there are many more of my work in progresses to come.


Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 06

Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 07

Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill WIP 08

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