~~ Please download the artwork to see all of the yummy details in full resolution. ~~ Dark Shadows: "Barnabas Collins of Collinwood Manor" - Painting Steps Video
So here it is finally, it took me awhile but this is my entry for the Dark Shadows: The Barnabas Portrait Project Contest. My Thoughts
When I first saw this contest notification in my inbox, I was ecstatic because now I had an excuse to paint Johnny Depp. Johnny looks absolutely amazing as Barnabas, and the hair, makeup, and costume design is just brilliant. Like all Tim Burton films, I’ll be at the theater bright and early on the first day because I’m excited to see it.
Not only that, but the fact that Tim Burton’s involved with the judging made me so incredibly happy. It would be quite the honor for him to view my work because I have admired him since I was very young. For me it’s a way to give back to a favorite creator and visionary that has inspired me throughout my life. Inspiration
After I finished thoroughly reading over all the fine print, I already knew the direction I wanted to take. I was going to create the portrait as if I was thee portrait painter myself. That meant oil on canvas/panel, or at least the simulation of such. So I envisioned myself sitting down with Barnabas at his Manor as his own privately commissioned painter.
Recently I had the privilege of visiting The Haunted Mansion at Disney World, so I had the wonderfully eerie Victorian portraits still on the brain. I decided that it would be fitting to pay homage to young Master Gracey himself and pose Johnny in a similar way. Proud and tall, sitting with his left hand on his chest, but still a bit of a smug grumpy pants. The way that Johnny frowns is amusing; therefore I knew that part of his character had to be captured. I also drew inspiration from the Dutch Golden Age of painting, Rembrandt being my main influence. His beautiful self portrait “Portrait of Rembrandt with Gorget” had a similar color palette (depending on the photograph) as the film. So my painting reflected that and consisted of an array of pale desaturated greens and golds, complemented by vivid pops of red and deep navy blue. Like Rembrandt, I also wanted to render an affective chiaroscuro, not only because it's visual appealing but it's symbolic of Barnabas’ struggle with light and dark. Technique
Painted in Photoshop with a Wacom in 18 hours over a 3 day period; all on one layer to help simulate real oil painting. I used the Standard Portrait Template (3125 x 2500), Fine Art brushes from my collection to create the texture and look of real paint, along with the grid method pioneered by Renaissances Masters to help keep proportions accurate.