Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Studies for Tronies

There are certain faces and expressions that we know instinctively--the phony smile of the con man, the hopeful cheer in a mother's face, the knot of anger above the boss' nose. The face may or may not matter, but the expression certainly does. Tronies--a Dutch golden age expression for a portrait with an exaggerated expression, or of a stock character--were a way to show those unforgettable looks. In the past I've posted about these interesting portraits, and speculated about doing a few of them. In that spirit, here are some ideas I've kicked about.

Nobody has been able to escape the famous "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffet, a song which has spawned a vast number of fans who call themselves "parrotheads," wear splashy floral shirts, cargo shorts, and flip-flops, and drink you-know-whats. These folks are generally middle-aged and very very happy at any one of Mr. Buffet's events.
My particular parrothead was drawn digitally as a study for a possible portrait head. The shirt would be bright red with green parrots and palm trees, the man himself having greying blond hair. It may yet become an oil. Certainly, a parrothead tronie is easily recognizable in a certain generation.

Besides such social phenomena, there are cultural tronies too. In the United States, for my generation and those before mine, the cowboy embodied the American spirit. Free, uncaring of the world beyond his herd, living widely under a vast sky, the cowboy has been one of our cultural legends. So cowboys are perfect subjects for tronies. In fact, the "Marlboro Man" of advertising fame could stand as a tronie. I wanted to do one too. I used a movie still as a reference shot, especially to show craggy features and steely eyes that are expected from a Western legend. I drew this one digitally too. Again, this subject seems natural for a portrait head in oil.

Here is one final study for a tronie. This one is from a snapshot of a homeless man. The exaggerated expression was the obviously the most interesting feature of the image, but so was his seamed skin and his shaggy head. The other two studies were done with Sketchbook, but this one was completed with Painter, using the conte tool. Painter continues to interest me as a tool for studies leading to full color paintings.

Another worthy subject, perhaps.

No comments:

Post a Comment