Mark Ulriksen
January 2011
Working on Doug's Blues
My friend Doug commiissioned me to create a painting of some of his favorite musicians. Great gig, except that because this was for a friend I neglected to include one very crucial element- a deadline. For three years or so I had this on my to-do list. I finally started the painting last summer and I wonder what took me so long. It's a lot of fun.
Here's my tight sketch

On big crowded scenes like this typically I'd paint all the faces first, or all the hands. For this 24" x 48" canvas I opted to paint every person completely so I could feel like I've got some progress made. I know this will take me a long time. That pianist is Otis Spann.

I'm not crazy about Spann's clothes so I'll change that later. Time to start in on Howlin' Wolf.

Sidney Bechett is behind Wolf and John Colerane is behind Spann. I've finished Muddy Waters face and hands at this point.

I started getting antsy to paint more faces so instead of finishing Muddy Waters I painted both John Lee Hooker and James Brown's faces and hands.

I'm going to have James Brown in a checkered coat as a way to mirror Howlin' Wolf's coat

I'm not crazy about HAVING to paint that checkered coat so I decided to put it off and start in on Charlie Mingus instead.

Mingus among us.

Looks like I didn't keep up with documenting this very well. The front line is all done and now I've also finished Tom Waits and Billie Holiday in the booth in the 2nd row. I'm working on Al Green at this point.

Tom Waits lights Billie's smoke. It could have happened.

Here is as far as I've gotten. Al Green is done, as is Willie Dixon to his right. I've started blocking in the background and still have the portraits on the walls and various details still to do. I'll post again once this one is done.

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