aboutimage galleriescontactsubscribe

Mark Twain

APRIL 21, 2010
Mark Twain, one of America's greatest authors, died on this date, April 21st in 1910.  100 years have passed and his works are still discussed and studied.  This portrait was commissioned by Der Spiegel Magazine who is doing a story on this famous American.
I enjoyed seeing Jody Hewgill's Twain illustration here and think it a fitting tribute to add mine to Drawger as well.  Good timing too, as I just varnished it today and today is the anniversary of his passing.
Mark Twain was born as Haley's Comet sped overhead and died 80 years later when the comet returned.
I grew up in Connecticut and with various school trips visited his house in Hartford many times.  I think I found by love for eloborate old houses there. 
Recently my son Cassius played Huck Finn in a school production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  I asked him to reprise his role for a possible raft that didn't make the final cut.

I love painting portraits and  when I am given the opportunity to paint an icon, I jump at the chance.  The list of icons I've painted is very long and now I get to add Mark Twain.
A ton of tiny brushwork to make this boat.
Michael Deas painted a great Twain for Time not long ago.  When I was assigned this last week I avoided looking at his version to keep from freaking out.  Mine is different but his is wonderful.
Der Spiegel sometimes provides the best sketches from an art department I've ever seen.  They know what they want and try to guide me as best they can.  In the end a version I sent AFTER sending a bunch of raft sketches was chosen.  We work well together.
Cassius as Kurt Cobain as Huck Finn.
This is the final image and upon posting it I see a bit of a flaw.  It might not get noticed.  I'll describe something I do when I am under deadline (24 hours) and need to marathon paint.  As I do these paintings parts of them go matte before I am finished.  Normally with a few days cushion I can varnish the painting before I shoot it.  When I am under the gun I shoot it as I finish it.  Paint the background, SHOOT.  Paint the head, SHOOT and so on.  When I finally finished it I shot that last part and merge it all together.  This way it looks bright and fresh and vivid.
Apparently the merge somewhere in Twain's hair got transparently doubled!  Hair can do that so I think that's why I missed it.  That and being so tired.
Long Live Mark Twain.