Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Case Study #2 - Frank Playing Guitar

"Frank Playing Guitar" oil on canvas 30"h x 24"w
An alla prima guitar?
I don't think so. I have to lay this one in first.
I am trying to work on two bodies of work concurrently. I have the large plywood with the canvas ready to go. I am just at a roadblock as to what to paint on it with perhaps too many ideas running through my head. So, while I ruminate about the large canvas painting, I thought it would be a good time to get back to work on my NF Tribute portraits. I have been in contact with Frank Moore about painting his portrait for a couple of months now. I met him on Facebook just like Reggie. Even though Frank has had his leg amputated from NF complications, that doesn't seem to stop him from getting outdoors and hiking. He also enjoys heavy metal music and playing guitar. He seemed like the perfect candidate for my next painting.

Frank, like Reggie, does not live anywhere near me. Reggie lives in Houston, TX and Frank Moore lives in Clifton, Colorado. So, this time I had to ask him the favor of asking a friend to take pictures of him playing guitar. Frank was happy to help. The first images he sent were of him playing guitar but the flash had completely wiped out any color differences or subtleties on his face. I asked him to set up a photo shoot with a friend and go outside and make sure the sun hit one side of his face while he played guitar. It is kind of strange to art direct a photo shoot via FB messages, but he and his friend did a great job and got me some really good photos to work from. I settled on one that showed most of his torso while he played guitar.

10 - 15-12 -
I had to do a grisaille under painting in order to
get the guitar and folds of the t-shirt to make sense
Because of NF, his arm has many tumors. Interestingly, Frank has a full tattoo on both his forearm and upper arm regions that seem to compliment the tumors as the drawings on his skin will wrap around the tumors. Whether that was intentional or accidental the end result looks very cool.

Originally I had thought it might be interesting to paint Frank doing something that showed his truncated leg and how he is able to adapt just fine with his prosthetic leg, but then it occurred to me that maybe he doesn't really feel like his ambulatory differences are all that important in the entire make up of his personality. So, I chose to just forego that idea in the thought that it might even seem exploitative of NF in general. And, by this point, everyone should know that is not my intent at all.

First lay in of color
"Frank Playing Guitar" - 24"x 30"h oil on canvas

I still need to go back and rework the Reggie Sipping Coffee painting as well since both my last mentor and current mentor thought I could improve the background on it. My advisor, Peter, had thought of coming up with a bit of text to accompany the paintings. Something that would explain who these people are when the viewer looks at them. So, I plan on getting something in writing from both Reggie and Frank when the time gets closer to displaying these paintings. I like that idea a lot as it gives the viewer an inside look into the personalities of the individuals portrayed. My advisor also said something to the affect of: Try to imagine what the exhibition would look like under ideal conditions. Ideally, I would have 17 of these portraits painted. Chromosome 17 is responsible for NF1. If I painted anyone with NF2 that is located on chromosome 22. I will concentrate on people with NF1 for now.

Frank getting his picture taken at the hospital
I also like painting adults with NF. Truthfully, in 2005 with the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation changed its name to the Children's Tumor Foundation it left many people with NF feeling isolated. I understand why the organization did that. It really is much easier to fundraise for kids with tumors than for 30+ year old people with tumors and in the end, we just need to find a cure. I happen to love this charity because they have done so much to raise awareness and help fund scientists to do clinical research. So, if it takes people seeing babies with tumors to donate, fine by me. But, it's never been completely fine with me for the adults with NF to think that suddenly no one cares about them any more. So, these portraits will all be adults with NF1.


Frank said...

it looks amazing rachel! thank you so much for the work you are doing to raise awareness for NF...i am honored that you chose me for your next painting! i hope to meet you someday face to face....you are truely an angel on this earth! thank you again

Steven Sherman said...

Glad I got to see this painting. Really love this one