Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Portrait of Jon Snow: Game of Thrones Fan Art

Winter sure is taking a long time to get here!

OK...I could easily fill a whole post with Game of Thrones quotes...but let's get right to my obsession with painting the characters, ok?  I have to get back into the studio!

Right from the start - like most other Game of Thrones fans - I loved Kit Harington's portrayal of Jon Snow.  I've never read the books, so I didn't come to the TV series with any pre-conceived notions of who he should be, so I guess in that way I was lucky.  Anyway - Kit Harington, obviously, is a very good looking man, and combined with the cinematography and costumes and his amazing acting I had no choice - had to paint a portrait of Jon Snow!

So just the other day I was lucky enough to get my hands on a tube of Torrit Grey - the color that Gamblin Oil Paints releases every year in honor of Earth day.  It is created from all of the dust particles trapped in their filters over the course of the last production year. turns out to be a perfect foil to one of my painting characteristics:  I love color.  Maybe a little too much at times.  I am always trying to "tone down" my skin tones.  So...I found a Jon Snow screenshot that I liked, him in a cool green forest with an overall atmosphere of grey-ish green, and got out my usual palette.

However, this time, every color I mixed - from the black of his hair to the green of the trees to the flesh on his cheeks - had a touch of Torrit grey mixed in.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  Now I am not the first artist to do this - having a pile of color that an artist mixes into each color on his painting is sometimes referred to as "the mother".  An artist will add a touch of this to every color she mixes, to unify the palette.  Often times this is a light purple, like a periwinkle, sometimes a combination of alizarin crimson, white, and blue (french Ultramarine would work)

Once I knew the reference photo I wanted, the color approach I wanted, I got to work, starting with transparent red oxide on 11" x 14" gessoed panel.

I spent a lot of time on subtle tweaks to every angle on the face - a slight change in the arc of the eyebrow changed the expression from fear to steadfast, a crinkle in the corner of the eye from thoughtfulness to rage, the line of the lips changed from tense to confident.  It's amazing what subtle changes can do to an expression.  And I am so in awe of what this amazing actor captures in just a glance, I wanted to be sure to honor that in every stroke.

I've also painted Tywin Lanister, Master Luwin, and Lady Stark (I will share her portrait soon!)