Portrait of Lt.Billy Cummins
August 27, 2012
30" x 30"
Acrylic on Canvas
I was given the wonderful opportunity to create this commissioned piece. I was unable to post anything about it until today, which is the fire lieutenants birthday. This post is published to coincide with the receiving of his portrait ( his wife and I didn't want to ruin the surprise).
This portrait of Lt.Billy Cummins was an absolute joy to work on. As soon as I saw the reference material that Billy's loving wife Megan showed me I knew that it was something I had to do. Immediately my eyes started to draw out how I was going to make the composition, which type of canvas I was going to use, that it would have to be done in acrylic paint, and which colors I was going to use.
What I love, just as much as creating the painting, is the reaction it has gotten from first time viewers. I know that I have done a good job when a piece renders people a bit speechless at first and I can see that it hits them with emotion before their language skills can even calculate what is going on. Many viewers first physical reaction to this painting was a slack jaw. It always makes me shout "YES!" inside, knowing I have gotten it right. It is very hard to judge one's own work, so I have to rely on others. When people have a bunch of comments to say right from the start, then I know I have more painting and tweaking to do to complete the painting.
I just wish that I could take a photo of this painting that does it justice, but it's impossible. That is the great thing about owning original paintings is that they are there to be physically experienced. I did several layers of paint and acrylic gloss to create the fire in contrast to the figure which was left matte. When you walk in front of the painting from one side to the other the fire shimmers and the figure stays stoically still in it's midst. This helps to give an illusion of movement.
Thank you to Megan Cummins, you were a joy to work with and I hope that the painting brings as much joy to your family as it did me in creating it.
(Thank you, also to all of Billy's co-workers that helped by sneakily taking photos of his new Lt. helmet so that I could accurately portray it.)