Sunday, 12 June 2016

Two More Chiefs

The following are the latest portraits I've attempted. They are again of Amerindians, in both cases very-well known ones. The guide photos were both black and white

Sitting Bull - 16" x 12" Waterford High White. 300gsm (140lb) not

The guide photograph was almost certainly taken during Sitting Bulls reservation period a few years after the defeat of Custer in 1876. He remained.a very influential figure - although with enemies amongst his own tribesmen - and was killed, some say murdered, when reservation indian police attempted to arrest him for fomenting trouble. He never accepted  subjugation to the white man and was a renowned `white hater'.

The colours are mostly a mixture of Cadmium Red Light and a little Raw Sienna, with copious amounts of Cerulean Blue and Ultramarine, Raw Umber and possibly Burnt Umber added for the dark areas. I mulled it over a few days after initial completion and deciding it was too dull, added diluted amounts of Translucent Brown (Schminke Pbr 41) to warm up the face.This is a great colour and Yvonne Harry of my painting group asked if she could try it and seemed suitably impressed. 

Quanah Parker 16" x 12" Centenaire 300gsm (140lb) not

Quanah Parker was the last war chief of the elusive Qwahadi Comanches. The interesting thing is his father was the war chief Peta Nocona and mother the captured white girl Cynthia Ann Parker. Cynthia was captured at between the ages of 8 and 11 - no one is sure exactly when she was born -and her capture became a cause celebre on the Texas frontier, indeed nationally. Recaptured by Texas Rangers at the age of 34 she never adjusted to white society and died of influenza in 1871. Her young daughter Prairie Flower preceded her. Quanah eventually became the leader of the Quahadis and was the last to surrender in 1874. He subsequently adapted to reservation life becoming quite wealthy. He dressed like a white man and adopted many white men ways, but not all. At one time he had 8 wives. Quanah visited his relatives amongst the Parker family and  became a well respected member of the community. Quanah kept a large framed photograph of his mother and sister in his house.  .. 

I wanted to paint him because of his history and also strong features. Prior to painting I reviewed some of Charles Reid's Indian portraits and also Gerd Hendriks DVD..The reasons are obvious in Charles case but in Gerards were to see whether I might incorporate some of his techniques - at least in a modest way initially. The resemblance to Quanah is quite good although not as good in Sitting Bulls case.

Using my normal portrait colours of Cadmium Red, Raw Sienna and Cerulean or Ultramarine I also heavily invested in Translucent Brown..I wanted to avoid the dullness of the first painting stages of Sitting Bull and be bolder. . Brushes used were my normal Isabey in sizes from 4 to 8. I'm pleased with the results, especially Quanah.

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