Thursday, July 2, 2009

This is what you get for listening to Kenny Rogers

It's coming up on my mother's birthday soon, she would have been 72 in a couple of weeks. I'm using that as an excuse for the fact that I spent a couple of hours last weekend hunting down old Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride songs on YouTube. I guess it's no wonder that the next morning I woke up with an image in my head - an image I couldn't shake. I kept hearing the lyrics to 'The Gambler' and seeing this cowgirl studying her cards. So I decided to not let it slip by.

While the image was fresh in my mind I dug out my old cowboy hat (a souvenir from the Calgary Stampede) and found some playing cards. It was in my head that poker involved 5 cards - and sadly neither my husband or I were sure, but aesthetically 5 cards worked so that's what I went with. After a half hour of my incredibly patient hubby helping me shoot reference shots from different angles, and another hour of cutting, pasting and manipulating the images in Photoshop, I finally finished a good reference shot to work from.

Now my intent was not to copy this exactly - it's not going to be a portrait, and I don't look like a cowgirl. So I reshaped it a bit in photoshop and I reshaped it more when working on the scratchboard. She started having a hardened sort of look, which I really liked so I developed that further - at this stage it was a bit more of a grimace than I wanted...

The next steps were to soften her mouth a bit, and lay out more of the scratching (hat, hair, hand) and continued reworking of her face. I have not done much human skin before - it is a very different creature on scratchboard than fur!!

After this I relaid shadows with ink - in this way I get fading textures into the darkness instead of a sharp demarcation between light and shadow.

Lastly... numerous little touch ups and of course my favorite bit - the cards! And here is the finished picture....

"Know when to hold 'em" 9x12" Ampersand scratchboard

Some detail shots:

I hope you've enjoyed this board, I sure enjoyed doing it! I plan to offer prints of this one, as soon as I get my business side up and running fully. Watch for posts!

Oh, and does anyone know if 5 cards in your hand makes sense for poker?? (I really need to learn to play poker some day!)

~ Pam


Brian said...

Actually, 5 cards does in fact a poker hand make... depending on which game you are playing. Although something about this suggests that 5-card would be completely apropos here. VERY impressive, btw.

Janice said...


Becky Vaughan said...

This is amazing, Boots! Where have you managed to find spare time in your crazy life to do this?

Cat-in-a-Box said...

Bri - That's good to know! Now you have to guess what she's got in her hand ;D

Janice - Thanks!

Becky - I left my crazy life in Chicago, now I'm quite sane.. with my full time job plus clocking 20hrs/wk of studio time I'm still putting in about the same as I did back then :D

Carol Ann Bernard said...

Wonderful! Got your picture in the Aspen paper...your famous!

I love your artwork, the detail, the lighting, it is lovely.

Best of luck at the art exhibit.