Fun with charcoal: Twain and Walken portraits

So a few weeks ago, Scott asked me to do an oil painting demo for his class at MassArt and I thought it would be a great excuse to mess around with some portrait ideas I had wanted to flesh out. The Christopher Walken was the one I ended up moving forward with (more detailed post forthcoming when I finish the painting) but Mark Twain will end up fully painted as well, with a few more details added.

This was not my first portrait of Mr. Walken, because I love the way he looks. I enjoy his face so much in fact I have an idea to do several portraits of celebrities with very unique features. Here, I wanted to mess around with some dramatic lighting and thought some severe Film Noir effects suited his character. Christopher has a larger than life personality that fits in ideally with the Noir pastiche.

For Twain, I wanted more of the straightforward portrait.  I focused more on capturing the direct gaze with that touch of a smile that he always seems to have in photographs- like he knows something you don't. I knew that playing with the signature white suit and white hair would be a fun challenge, so I am very much looking forward to bringing this into paint too. I have a few more high priority pieces to work on before coming back to these but hopefully now that my first semester teaching has ended, I can devote some more time to my pet projects over the summer.