Portrait of Mike Leigh.

mike-leigh_by_russell_blogThe British film Director, Mike Leigh provided excellent portrait material; during the Renaissance it was fashionable to have a hermit living at the bottom of your garden, Mike Leigh would be my ideal hermit, he’s such a great character—I’d keep him well fed on fluffy mashed potatoes, washed down with strong tea, in exchange for his wisdom. Mike makes films about everyday people, actors under his direction improvise their roles tirelessly, giving the characters they play great depth. I tried to afford this portrait more depth by making initial studies of Mike from video of his appearance at Reykjavík Film Festival 2014, watching interviews with the director and some of his films—before committing to this finished piece.

Media: Indian Ink, Acrylic, and Photoshop.

The merchant mariner.

Merchant mariner.I’ve kept this drawing back, hidden within the folds of a sketchbook from last year. It makes me feel uncomfortable. There are a lot of good things about this portrait and some problems too but I think, above all, that it’s something about his stare that unnerves me. A look of fear and of, ‘Why me?’. The look of a man who earlier that morning got some bad news from his oncologist.

Months later, I was relieved to see the Merchant Mariner back at the café. He had responded well to treatment and was set to make a full recovery. Always a high spirited fellow, I’d drawn him out of character on one of his darkest days.

Hope you are well my friend.