Marianne Morris Art Work - Coleman Hawkins

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

Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Hawkins played the tenor saxophone. One of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument, as Joachim E. Berendt explained: "there were some tenor players before him, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn". He's predominantly associated with the swing era, but continued playing into the later eras, performing with the likes of Ben Webster, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.

My first exposure to "the Hawk" was his 1957 recording, "The Genius of Coleman Hawkins". I was watching the Ken Burns documentary, and checked out of the library everything I could find by the artists he talked about in the film. This is what I put on while I was painting. It most definitely set the mood for me.

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Marianne Morris

Marianne Morris

Christine Matthäi Photo Art

Step 1

Marianne Morris Art

1. I've started this entire series on black. For this one I put in a bit of texture. Something in the playing made me feel this one shouldn't be a flat painting.

Step 2

Marianne Morris Art

2. With the music on, I get out my paint pen and try to get the basic feel for the music. The marks here are completely improvisational.

Next Upload 29.03.2015

Step 3

Marianne Morris Art

3. I try to get the movement of the music 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 01.04.2015

Step 4

Marianne Morris Art

4. 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.

Next Upload 03.04.2015

Step 5

Marianne Morris Art

5. There are lots of photos of Coleman Hawkins around, but many of the ones of him performing are when he in his later years. Most of the early images are posed studio portraits, which were common for the times. I ran into the same thing with Ella Fitzgerald. I wanted this image to be more of him playing, so I used the basic pose from a photo of him when he was much older, and used the studio photos as reference to depict him in his youth.

Next Upload 05.04.2015

Step 6

Marianne Morris Art

6. Using my drawing as a guide, I blocked in the general area where the figure will be.

Next Upload 07.04.2015

Step 7

Marianne Morris Art

7. I'm thinking the area where the sax will be looks a little uninteresting, as well as the bottom quarter. I add in some marks with a fine tip paint pen… these will add some texture which I can tone down as much as necessary by adding layers of transparent colour.

Next Upload 09.04.2015

Step 8

Marianne Morris Art

8. I go over the new marks with colour to blend them in and tone them down a bit.

Next Upload 11.04.2015

Step 9

Marianne Morris Art

9. I made a mask from my initial drawing, cut it out and tape it to my canvas in the position I want it. I use tracing paper so I can see a bit of the markings underneath. I want those fine pen lines to appear in the sax.

Next Upload 13.04.2015

Step 10

Marianne Morris Art

10. Using opaque white paint, I work around the mask into the background. When I remove the mask, you can clearly see the silhouette of my figure.

Next Upload 15.04.2015

Step 11

Marianne Morris Art

11. I decide at this point that the background at the top is too dark and too busy. I go over this area with white, trying to retain some of the energy from the previous layers.

Next Upload 17.04.2015

Step 12

Marianne Morris Art

12. I start blending in the background, keeping the layers thin so it doesn't get too dark.

Next Upload 19.04.2015

Step 13

Marianne Morris Art

13. As I layer in the colour, the intensity of the colour picks up. I tone it down by adding neutrals, and brown to warm it.

Next Upload 21.04.2015

Step 14

Marianne Morris Art

14. I expand the white area a bit over the figure, to give the feeling of a light behind him.

Next Upload 23.04.2015

Step 15

Marianne Morris Art

15. Using my drawing I transfer some guidelines for the facial features. I don't worry about adding too much detail, they are just guidelines at this point. I will build up the form with paint.

Next Upload 25.04.2015

Step 16

Marianne Morris Art

16. Here I've started building up the highlights and shadows in his face. This can be a time consuming process… I like to keep the paint thin so the underlayers can show in places.

Next Upload 26.04.2015

Step 17

Marianne Morris Art

17. I transfer in guidelines for the hand and sax. At this point I like to keep working all over the painting instead of concentrating on one specific area. I find that if I finish one bit before moving on to the next, sometimes the finished piece will look a bit disjointed.

Next Upload 29.04.2015

Step 18

Marianne Morris Art

18. I lay in highlights for the rest of the figure. I'm happy here that my lighting looks consistent, even though I'm working from different reference photos.

Next Upload 01.05.2015

Step 19

Marianne Morris Art

19. Layering over some transparent colour to start building the form. Looking at the ear and the forehead, you can see how they get pushed back in space, giving the feeling of depth.

Next Upload 03.05.2015

Step 20

Marianne Morris Art

20. I'm working a bit more on his face, building it up using white and brown. I have no real deep shadows yet… that's still coming.

Next Upload 05.05.2015

Step 21

Marianne Morris Art

21. I alternate using glazes and white to model the face. It's important not to overwork it at this point. It happens sometimes and the whole thing ends up looking odd… so far though, this one is going well.

Next Upload 07.05.2015

Step 22

Marianne Morris Art

22. I start laying in some deep shadows on his face. I also realize his sleeve is too far up on his hand, so I adjust it here. It's an easy fix at this point… just extend the white to give some shape to an arm.

Next Upload 08.05.2015

Step 23

Marianne Morris Art

23. I glaze over the hand so the white isn't so stark. I will add in some more highlights later, but I don't want the entire hand bright white.

Next Upload 10.05.2015

Step 24

Marianne Morris Art

24. I need some final highlights on his shirt and tie to make it look like the light is hitting it. I also darken up the left side of his face a bit, because it looks too bright to me.

Next Upload 12.05.2015

Step 25

Marianne Morris Art

25. He's got a moustache in every photo I've seen of him, so I add that in here. I also give the mouthpiece a bit of detail, transitioning it from the more realistic area of the face to the completely abstracted instrument.

Next Upload 15.05.2015

Step 26

Marianne Morris Art

26. A couple more touches around the shape of the sax, the mouthpiece and the hand makes it look more complete. I also layer on a bit more intense transparent orange, to tie it to the other pieces in this series.

Next Upload 17.05.2015

Step 27

Marianne Morris Art

27. A signature and a couple finishing touches and here you are… my Jazz Legends portrait of Coleman Hawkins!!

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My work is mainly about expressing emotion. I use my painting to explore things we all experience on a daily basis but rarely examine; emotions like joy, loneliness, sorrow, love, connection. Using colour, pattern and symbolism, I explore the relationships between us and our surroundings, ourselves and the things that influence the pattern of our lives, like culture, music, and nature.
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