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Bennie Lee Watkins Study


I finished the study painting this afternoon and I started a full portrait. I’m just ‘ok’ pleased with it and even though I’m likely to be my staunchest critic, I think the full portrait will turn out a bit better from the practice on the study. Bennie had a chance to check them out yesterday. He had a bit of that sorta “looking at a photograph of yourself kinda expression”, but he smiled and seem to enjoy them.

I used six different colors for these two paintings.
Ultramarine Deep
Red Vermillion
Raw Umber
Flesh Ochre
Yellow Ochre
Cadmium Yellow
Ivory Black
Zinc-Titanium White

I’ve already got some good imagery of my neighbor Tom for my next portrait, but I’ve also been thinking about expanding my subjects to include some other elements to present a bit more of a story. So what I’m thinking is this.. I was listening to a recent dylan album the other day and thinking about why I like dylan. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I like is his unadulterated use of symbolism and shit.. like a good poet. And odd enough, the track that was playing was Tweedledee and Tweedledum from his 2001 “Love and Theft” album.. we’ll needless to say I wikipedia’d it, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweedledum_and_Tweedledee ) and I was fascinated by the number of contemporary references to it.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

So I’m going to model all the elements from the traditional folk tale using a montage of imagery. In the case of Tweedledee and dum… I don’t think it’ll be hard to find a fat man in a rural southern town to model Tweedledee from and I’ve been thinking about where I’ve seen any men of the overweight selection sitting around town that I could photograph. Point is, if I was buying a painting.. I want it to be like some sort of powerful object that tells a story. The subject can be anything… landscapes, people, or things, but I don’t want any clich├ęs and I’d prefer to stick with either extremely old or contemporary or folk tales. Even something like one of the original illustrations for The Walrus and the Carpenter by John Tennie will work. If it’s good enough for “I am the Walrus“, it’s good enough for me. I’ve done some symbolic work and a bit of abstract, but I’m really looking forward to putting this together and I think this may keep me from getting bored of the typical subject matter. I would like to note however, that I don’t want to escape too far from the classical realism and I feel like it’s important to me that I continue to use the ‘real’ people and places around me everyday for my subjects, even if I set them into symbolic compositions like Tweedledee & Tweedledum.