Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Lincoln Series: Now What?

The original photo.
I painted my first portrait of the 16th president somewhere in the early nineties, I think. Studying the events surrounding the U.S. Civil War proved endlessly fascinating, beginning in the fourth grade, that age in which we first begin to get a grasp on time and history and how the past is back there somewhere in the distance from where we're sitting.

Blue Lincoln with Sunblock
Our initial review of history, while superficial, is still useful. It begins sinking home the names of people and places and makes us familiar with key events. As we revisit these events in junior high and high school history classes, we begin to see a greater complexity than our early minds could grasp. We begin to understand how how conflicts escalated into wars, how history is painted by personalities, how power is used and abused, and the challenges leaders face when trying to implement a vision that is unpopular to a large portion of the public.

Lincoln Gets Gnarly
The pictures on this page today show the stages one of my more recent paintings has undergone. Originally titled Blue Lincoln with Sunblock when shown at my Beaners opening in 2010, it's now been retitled Civil War. Then again, "Civil War" has been the working title of all my Lincoln paintings. Who knows where this will finally evolve to?

Digital Lincoln Blue
In the upper right is a screen shot that I snapped from the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War. I'm fairly certain the picture, like may or most of this president, are now in the public domain, which is why they are used to pervasively in history books and films.

The painting has been evolving though. And I can't say for certain what it will evolve to, but the effects have been interesting. To paraphrase some advice I received when I was first learning to draw, maybe it takes a thousand bad Lincoln paintings to get a good one.

The following shows our most up-to-date iterations.

Y'all have a good day now, ya hear?

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