A few weeks ago I wrote about my recent fascination with Frankenstein’s monster that began with having just seen the play Arsenic and Old Lace. In that article, I shared with you a number of head studies of the monster as I explored the various ways one can draw him and still retain the recognizable fact that he is who he is. The fascination did not end that day. I continued to draw some more heads, all the while wondering where this was going to lead.
It has been awhile since I’ve done an actual bonafide painting, and just the simple drawings of the various heads inspired me to do a portrait of the monster. I rarely can do something straightforward, though. I love the funny, and the funny can’t just be in how the figure looks – it has to be about the situation. Immediately da Vinci’s Mona Lisa came to mind.
In looking at the da Vinci painting, it is the PERFECT setting for my monster. The background is dark and moody, desolate, and eerily earthy in color. Of course the monster will replace Lisa, but I must amuse myself with the background for the scene to be complete. I began to sketch the idea in my sketchbook. That little path on the left? An angry mob, of course! Off to the right? Well, it has to be Frankenstein’s castle! And the sky is going to have to be more stormy to justify the requisite bolt of lightning integral to the tale of Frankenstein.
The final painting is a current work-in-progress. Over the next week or so, I thought I’d take you step-by-step barefoot across the coals of my process that I’ve already overcome. Next, Part 2 of the Frankenstein’s Monster series will focus on my visual research for the painting.