Laura Collins was born in Chicago, and now lives and works on the Oregon Coast, USA. Collins is well known for her paintings of actors, actresses, and celebrities. Series of Collins’ works include paintings of the Olsen Twins escaping the paparazzi, Runway Models Falling, The Real Housewives pointing fingers and celebrities wearing fur. As you can imagine as celebrities there are vast swathes of photographs and stills for Collins to draw inspiration from. Looking at the technique and style of painting, similarly to Alice Neel, Collins uses strong colour and line in her paintings. There is also a sense of humour to her work and emotion.
For my response I chose to draw a pair of celebrity in-film siblings who I particularly like. Will Ferrel and John C Reilly from Step Brothers – one of my all-time favourite movies. I particularly like the photo as it’s remnant of child-like school photos, which is even more so solidified in their child like gaze, yet they are both 40-year old men, it’s very comical as is the entire film.
I used acrylic paint on A2 watercolour paper and began by roughly sketching the face and bodies of both actors. I didn’t spend a huge deal of time on this however and I think this is apparent in the slight error in facial proportion of both actors. Will Ferrel’s face is a little too elongated whilst John C Reilly’s face is slightly too small overall. It’s a shame, but it’s useful that I can pick out the errors and take this learning with me to the next painting. This was also only meant to be a quick response to Collins work so not something I intended to spend hours upon hours on.
I specifically wanted to try and emulate the same bold style seen in Collins work so used a medium sized filbert brush throughout this painting challenging myself to not add in small details and keep sweeping bold movements of the brush and paint. On occasions where I wanted to add in finer lines I tried to use the very edge of the filbert brush quite gently on the surface.
After painting in the general colours of the brother’s vest tops and shirts I set about adding in some of the smaller details although still trying to keep the bold colour and line, such as the fine lines on the diamond vests. I also then added in the bold blue background, using white acrylic paint I traced the edges of the portrait to create the light seen in the original photo. I then worked back over with sweeping brush marks to emulate the curly wavy hair.
Overall I’m quite pleased with the painting, I really like the use of colour in this painting and it was a good photograph to work from, I’m disappointed in the faces of both Will Ferrel and John C Reilly as they are distorted and don’t particularly resemble either of them very well, however I do think it was a good exercise in trying to use those bold brush strokes as Collins does in her work.