Art by Rebecca Barkley
I have a painting of Kurt Cobain that I have re-painted 4 times now. Using the same canvas.
I’ve never been very good at portraits. They’re hard. Damn hard! But like any other style or art form you need practice, and of course, persistence. I was determined to complete a decent painting of Kurt.
The first layer was back in April 2007. It was a throw together rough portrait. Not that great.. especially considering my favourite artwork to this day was painted the very same year. Odd. I have my good days and I also, as you can see, have my not so good days.
5 years later I decided to paint over Kurt and aim for something slightly better. I was pretty pleased with myself for painting this.. it was a lot more Kurt-like second time around! But something still bothered me, it just wasn’t as as good as I’d aimed for.
2013 I made the attempt to just ‘touch up’ the last version of Kurt. One thing lead to another.. next thing I know I’ve had a Cecilia Gimenez moment. I preferred the old painting better! I have lost my groove! Sometimes if I force myself to paint rather than just let it flow, this happens. It’s looking more like Xavier Rudd to me at this point.
Another year passes and I’m getting sick of finding Kurt’s portrait on the floor while Oscar stands on it. I don’t really like it either Oscar but don’t just stand on his disfigured face like that! I feel bad enough already! Suddenly, I had a moment where I picked it up and thought ‘Today, I will pain it again damn it!’ I smothered the canvas in black paint and started all over again. And with a different reference picture.
Ta daaa!!! I’m super stoked over this last effort – the best portrait I have ever done! It does remind me a little of ‘The Hound’ from Game of Thrones.. but other than that it is pretty damn close to perfect for me. I think this may very well be the finished piece!
Than again.. ask me what I think of it in another year or so 😉