Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ludwig van Bathoven, finished

Here's the finished painting of Ludwig van Bathoven, at last.
Most who knew Bathoven were familiar with his foul moods—but very few knew that his volatile outbursts
came from frustration at only being able to play two notes at a time.
With this piece, I didn't take any process images. . . because it was that kind of week.  I was busy getting used to Twitter (I'm @Brianliesbooks), and I was preparing for tomorrow's blog feature, the first guest blogger on Midweek Musings (come back tomorrow to see who it is!  Teaser:  she creates some of the funniest, quirkiest book characters I've met from below the Mason-Dixon line).  

OK, it wasn't all work.  I was also dealing with the loss of a 20-year-old dishwasher and haunting Craigslist for a drum kit.

For this painting, I began with my traditional burnt sienna and burnt umber underpainting (seen here in the piano bench).  Looking at my rough sketch, I decided I wanted to keep it very tonal with Ludwig's scarf/ascot appearing as the strongest color in the piece.  I also wanted to emphasize the pathetic nature of a pianist /composer playing with his thumbs, and the absolute black of the wing-bones creates a nice contrast against the sheet music to do that.  I also added one of Ludwig's feet in the final painting— the poor guy can't touch the piano's pedals, either.


  1. I've always liked how touchable your textures seem...as if I can feel them under my fingers as I look at the illustrations.

  2. I love his little tail sticking out of the....tailcoat!

  3. I love the eyes, Brian. They are alive!