Friday, April 10, 2009

Building a Body-Builder, a Custom Portrait of a Body Builder in Acrylic Paint

So my girlfriend Cherie calls me and asks "Have you ever painted muscles?" and I said "Sure". And I show her some of my drawings of male models and she says "No, Kristina. MUSCLES. Like this"

"OHHH. Muscles. Sure I can do that!" Cherie wanted to do something special to thank a good friend, body builder Mat Duvall. She showed me this incredible moment where he had just heard that he won a major competition. Cherie felt that it not only reflected his great physique, but the moment also showed his belief in God as he thanked Him in his moment of victory.

This picture show how I started with a monochromatic lay-out of the major muscles, making sure I was getting a good composition.Here you can see me starting to layer acrylic paint. At this point, there is no white on my palette - the lightest color I was using was a creamy beige. I wanted to save the white until the very end to make the most important high lights "pop".Cherie and I spoke often as I updated her with the painting's progress. That's always so much fun for me - to share with my clients how the project is progressing, to hear their feedback, to join in as the excitement and anticipation grows. We talked a bit about background color, muscle shape, and how much definition to give his Superman tattoo. Every element is important!

In the end, I think this turned out to be a great painting. I love the square format, the layers of color, the pose, the negative space around his figure. And I think Cherie titled it appropriately
"I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me".
Thanks Cherie for letting me be a part of this great gift!
PS...keep an eye on my blog for follow-ups on Mat Duvall, his professional career, and the opportunity to purchase prints of this painting.


Audrey said...

WOW!! That is amazing! The painting and the muscles.

Cherie said...

Hey Kristina! I love you and your talent! I wish I could rub some off of you when we sit next to each other at bunco!

Seriously though... you are so awesome! While Mat provides quite a nice physique to draw and paint... your use of colors and shading keep revealing new things to me every time I look at it. I am sure it will be the gift that keeps on giving for him as well!

Thank you for the patience as well to listen to my thoughts and comments and work them in so beautifully! The surprise was a HUGE success! He would have never imagined in a million years "that" is what his gift was!! He was speechless!! And that my friend is worth a thousand words lol

kim* said...

very awesome but muscly men frighten me lol

Elizabeth Seaver said...

It is great to see your process here--that is always so interesting to me. You really captured a significant moment well.

krystyna81 said...

Thanks for all the kind (and funny!) comments!

Cherie - I appreciate you posting your reaction and how Mat felt about the painting...I hope he, too, enjoys it for a long long time!

studiovirgo said...

I really love seeing the range of your work. I especially like the colors you chose for the background of this figure, rather than the flat black of the photo.

Mat DuVall said...

Kristina! Thank you so very much for painting this. When Cherie told me she had a present for me...I was curious? I did not know what to expect when she arrived with the painting, wrapped up of course. At first I assumed it may be a print of Superman, as somewhere in an interview I did mention collecting such items?

I was so pleasantly surprised to un wrap and see this great work. Then? Having an opportunity to see pictures of the process added more so to my appreciation for your work.

While I would normally never hang a painting of myself anywhere! (LOL) I do very much love this painting as it was a pivotal moment in my life. Attempting to define all the thoughts going through my mind at that point would be tough to do.

Please know how much your work, and passion for art is appreciated! I thank you again, and I look forward to seeing other pieces. Be well, God Bless and CREATE A POWERFUL DAY!

Mat DuVall

krystyna81 said...


It means so much to be that you like the painting and enjoy living with it. I am so glad that you got to see the progress pictures, too!

Thanks again for all of your kind words, and I am truly honored to have been entrusted by our friend to create such a meaningful piece of work, for all of us - the one who commissioned it, the one who created it, and the one who recieved it.

All the best !!!

Little Lovables said...

wow, this is truly beautiful work!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Often when a muscle theme is rendered, it is done awkwardly and without a sense of the beautiful, but this is just outright artfully acomplished- a perfect combination of theme and painter. Terrific!