In a life full of fantastic movies and out of this world stories, it’s often hard to pick the one definitive story that changed everything. In the 1970s when I was still little, I spent time watching classic Doctor Who, classic Star Trek and countless other shows. All fantastical. But I wasn’t exposed to sci-fi movies like we know them today. Let’s face it, they didn’t really exist in any recognizable format. Aside from 2001, which was too mature for a kid, there was nothing.
I was five when Star Wars came out. I remember seeing the ads for it on tv and getting excited. I remember my dad having to go watch it first to see if it was appropriate for kids. I’m pretty sure he took my older brother next. And finally, finally! Gave in to my pleas and took me. The crowd was incredible. I don’t remember if we saw it in Montreal or Dorval (we were living in Quebec at the time). It was a Chinese movie theatre, which were all the rage at the time. The whole lobby was full of people lined up to see Star Wars. We even saw friends who were there for repeat showings.
Star Wars changed my life in so many ways. It ignited a passion for sci-fi that ran deep and has never wavered to this day. Princess Leia was completely unlike any other woman in movies, with her smart mouth, self-rescuing attitude and quick mind. I don’t even know how many times I was her for Halloween.
Seeing the story now, there are so many holes in it. So many plot points and assumptions made or lost. And yet, in my mind, it holds up in spite of its age. We were all Luke, living a life but wanting more. We were all Leia, having the more and losing everything, but still going strong. And Han? Well, he was the ultimate goal.
I’ve only recently started painting in this fandom because I wanted to do it justice. To honour the story that moved me so much. I’ve got more in the series to do over the course of this month. Here’s my second Star Wars painting.
One of the interesting things I’ve noticed as this month of near daily paintings has unfolded, is the changes to my under-painting style. I’m using more colours in unexpected ways. I’m glazing a lot more. I’m not afraid to play. And I’m almost completely using only one brush size to paint and that’s a half inch brush. Large and flat. No more getting bogged down in the details but letting them form over time.
The photos are washed out because I normally paint at night, but yesterday I painted in the afternoon. The light coming in from my window was strong and bright and washed out the photos. Making the whites harsher and creating a zombie-like effect.
The under-painting stages you can see above are very bright. The colours are loud. Intense. Even jarring. But they serve a purpose of adding life to the flesh tones. They have to be bright to show through under all the layers.
You can see the process of knocking them back. Bringing the painting from crazy to more painterly. I didn’t want to lose the colours as much as just make them work together.
And some close up shots from the side of Luke’s face. I love the textures that come through. On the canvases that I prime myself, I leave brush strokes in place deliberately. Paintings, my paintings anyway, are never meant to be smooth. They have depth, texture, layers and often unexpected colours. They are images of emotion rather than representations of people.
In this case, the events of the story have caught up with Luke and he’s feeling lost. Maybe a bit whiny. Leia tells him to suck it up and get on with the mission. Ok, a little paraphrasing there but that’s the scene. The farm boy in the middle of a critical mission and he stumbles before saving the day.
20″ X 16″
Acrylic on canvas