December 10, 2015

Han Shot First

So I goofed last week and painted the Han Solo commission on the wrong sized canvas. This is the re-paint on the correct canvas.

And the lesson I’ve learned is no commissions the week before I have a show! But I’m not upset, because there was time to repaint and it’s HAN SOLO. I can’t paint this guy enough.

But I didn’t just want to repaint the same moment. There’s no fun in that. I went back to the movie and found another iconic moment to paint. Any fan would recognize that this is Han’s half of the conversation with Greedo. And poor Greedo came out of the interaction slightly the worse for wear. And mostly dead. Because Han shot first.


I read recently that the first Star Wars movie worked because it asked more questions than it answered. It’s definitely true. We don’t know anything about Han at this point except that he has a ship and he needs money. Greedo gives us some more information but not much. Han could very well be as dangerous as he is cool.


The atmosphere of the Cantina where everything went down is so important. Star Wars is full of textures, colours and almost smells because of how real everything appears. Gritty walls. Smooth technology. Rough and ready aliens. It really helps the film age well and certainly far better than the prequels.

So I started this painting with the idea that texture matters. And the only way to get there was through painting the walls first. Rough and wide brush strokes in all directions.


Layers of yellow followed by dark brown. Burnt Umber for those that like precision. It looks black here but isn’t.


I’ve been painting in this style for a while now but I still hesitate the moment I have to do something like paint half a face red. It’s weird, right? Because it works, but while I’m painting, I have to hold really tight to the image of the end result or I will falter.


And then the black came into play and pulled everything together. Black, in this painting style, is the glue. Sometimes I like to start with it. Sometimes I like to build up to it. It depends on how I’m feeling when I’m painting. It’s like a birthday gift in a way. I want to peek. I’m dying to know what’s in the box, but I don’t always really want to spoil the surprise. That’s black. Do I want to see the end painting at the beginning or wait for a reveal? 


When I post as I go, I write about the details. Everything is in place, time for the details. I don’t really expand on it beyond that but at that point, it’s a matter of tweaking the painting. Adding in subtle colours. Using my small brushes to highlight the eyes. A final go around the piece to make sure every element has been pulled together and belongs. Details can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a full hour depending on the piece. It’s fun and exhausting and no painting would be complete without this step.

sm_20151208_203200-1“Han Shot First”


Acrylic on canvas

The original has been sold, but I will have prints available next week.

There’s still time to order prints for Christmas and even a commission if you live close enough. Just contact me and let’s talk.



Want to see my work in person? Maybe stop by and say hi? Well, you can! I have a whole page with my events listings right here. I will be heading into the US over the summer for a few shows as well. I’m just waiting for confirmation on dates and shows.