Marianne Morris Art Work - Cab Calloway

Follow the Art Work of Marianne Morris 12 Art Works subject : Historical Jazz Musician

Marianne Morris

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Cabell "Cab" Calloway III was a singer and bandleader, well known from his performances at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City. Taking over from the Duke Ellington Orchestra while they were touring, He became so popular that his band became regulars. He was a master of energetic scat singing and was immensely popular from the start of the 1930s through to the late 1940s. Calloway's band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Together with Ellington, Calloway broke the major broadcast network colour barrier by appearing on NBC's live broadcasts from the club.

The first footage I ever saw of Cab Calloway performing was in a documentary on Swing called "This Joint is Jumpin". He was entrancing… so energetic and theatrical. Some of his costumes reminded me of things I had seen in movies. Jim Carrey's "the Mask" for instance, not only references the whole big band era and Cab Calloway's costumes, but also remixes his signature song "Minnie the Moocher". Remarkable.

Follow up Step by Step Art Work Count Basie
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Stacks Image 9323

Step 1

Marianne Morris Art

Step 2

Marianne Morris Art

1. As always, I prep my canvas with black to start. This gives me a depth I can't get any other way.

2. With the music on, I get out my paint pen and try to get the basic feel for the music. Not as easy for him as for some other performers… much of the Cab Calloway experience for me is visual.

Next Upload 06.01.2015

Step 3

Marianne Morris Art

I've set up my laptop so I can watch some of the film footage while I'm working. I try to get his motions down with my white paint, to get that swing feeling. I know much of this will be covered up as I build up my layers, but I think I need the motion to get the right mood.

Next Upload 08.01.2015

Step 4

Marianne Morris Art

I lay down my first layers of colour. I try to get some texture and some interesting areas, though I'm not too fussy at this point. It's mostly about feel… at least until I get an idea how I want the figure to sit in the space.

Next Upload 10.01.2015

Step 5

Marianne Morris Art

Sifting through a load of old photos I pick out a few to work from. I've decided to put him in his tuxedo and holding a cane, since he often had props with him on stage. A top hat crossed my mind, but I eventually decided against it… to fit it in I would have had to make him smaller than I have the other figures in the series, and as I want them all to hang together, I chose to just include the cane. I had to make him smiling, since his teeth seem to dominate his face. Teeth have been something I've avoided most of my painting career… they always seem to look a bit off when I'm done. But I managed well with Count Basie, so I shall give it a go. I can always paint over it.

Next Upload 13.01.2015

Step 6

Marianne Morris Art

I mark my basic outline on the canvas. I can see there are a couple areas that need a bit of work, but overall, it's not bad

Next Upload 15.01.2015

Step 7

Marianne Morris Art

I'm back at it with the white, only this time I've used both my paint pen and my regular heavy body paints. I add more texture in the background area, but take most of it out in the area his face will be. I could leave it in and it would probably look ok, but I think I will use a bit more detail than I did in my Louis Armstrong painting… maybe a bit more like my Duke piece.

Next Upload 17.01.2015

Step 8

Marianne Morris Art

I go over the white with transparent colour, building up my surface texture.

Next Upload 19.01.2015

Step 9

Marianne Morris Art

I've cut out my drawing and taped it onto my canvas. I usually move it around a bit until I find the right division of space… I think he needs to be on the left side, with his smile becoming my focal point. I better not mess up his teeth.

Next Upload 21.01.2015

Step 10

Marianne Morris Art

I paint around my mask with white paint. This creates the division of the figure from the background… they will be blended in a bit better later on.

Next Upload 24.01.2015

Step 11

Marianne Morris Art

I'm thinking the background is going to be much too dark for this piece, so I extend the white further up to the top of the canvas. I've taken care to leave some brush strokes and give it some texture.

Next Upload 26.01.2015

Step 12

Marianne Morris Art

I layer over some colour to blend the the white into the background. I have thinned down the paint in areas to try to avoid it getting too dark. It's maybe a bit too bright still, but I can always change it later if I don't like it. I'm going to leave it as is for now.

Next Upload 29.01.2015

Step 13

Marianne Morris Art

I transfer the basics of my drawing onto the canvas. I don't need too much detail here, just the planes of the face. I've probably added in a bit too much… the chalk will sometimes come away on my brush and mix in with the paint. I can blow the dust off the surface and reduce the lines a bit with a damp paper town.

Next Upload 01.02.2015

Step 14

Marianne Morris Art

Using white and brown I lay in the basic form. I try to keep it light… I can always go over the darks with something darker or lighten up with more white. I'm just getting basics here.

Next Upload 03.02.2015

Step 15

Marianne Morris Art

Now comes the slow process of building up the lights and darks. I do it in layers, trying to make sure I have the shapes right.

Next Upload 05.02.2015

Step 16

Marianne Morris Art

I lighten up his cheeks to bring them forward, and darken the mouth, fussing with it until I get the correct shape. I think Ive got it here, but I really have to put in his moustache to make sure.

Next Upload 08.02.2015

Step 17

Marianne Morris Art

I work a bit more on the mouth, and put in the highlights to give his hand some form. Because the canvas is already so dark in this area I don't have to do much with the shadows… it almost looks good as it is. It will need some colour over it, but the form is there.

Next Upload 11.02.2015

Step 18

Marianne Morris Art

With the mouth a bit more complete I can see that I've messed up the shape of his nose. No problem, it's acrylic after all… I just paint over the dark bits with white and do it again…

Next Upload 13.02.2015

Step 19

Marianne Morris Art

That's better… and I should give that eye a bit more form while I'm at it….

Next Upload 15.02.2015

Step 20

Marianne Morris Art

It's too white so I layer some more colour over the highlight areas. This flattens it out a bit, but I can always add the really bright highlights in again and blend them a bit better.

Next Upload 18.02.2015

Step 21

Marianne Morris Art

Still not quite right. Lets do that again…

Next Upload 20.02.2015

Step 22

Marianne Morris Art

Oh that's much better. All I really have left is his hand.

Next Upload 22.02.2015

Step 23

Marianne Morris Art

Here is the final completed image. I've darkened up some areas and completed the hand, and then I've photographed it in proper lighting to be closer to my original. A signature, some wire and a bit of touching up on the edges, and he's complete! Yay!!

Final Art Work Thank You for your Time !