Monday, December 29, 2014

Logen Ninefingers

During the late summer and fall, I spent a fair bit of time on planes and in airports, and so I burned through quite a few books to pass the time. Among the books consumed were Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy. Shortly after finishing the books, I found myself in eastern Pennsylvania on a week-long artists' retreat.  On one of the last days of the retreat, I decided to try and knock out a couple of small paintings in one sitting.

Without a sketch or plan, I began to smear paint across the first board and wipe into the random strokes until I started seeing something. Before long, I found myself working on a portrait of a scarred and brooding man. With the recently read books fresh in my mind, I decided to just go ahead and push the portrait in the direction of one of the trilogy's main characters, Logen Ninefingers.

Not particularly sure if I ended up doing the character any justice, but it was a quick piece that I ended up liking a lot about.

The finished painting is oil on gessoed hardboard and measures 5 inches wide by 7 inches tall.

This piece represents the thinnest paint application I'd done in quite a while and I had a lot of fun slapping paint down then wiping the paint both with a paper towel, as well as with a rubber blending tool. While the piece was almost completely done during my time at the retreat, I did go back into it a few days after returning to Seattle for about five additional minutes to push the darks a bit more.

Like I said above, I'm pretty pleased with this one. Is it the most dynamic, interesting result? Maybe not, but I'm happy with how I let the brushstrokes sit and be their own thing. I have yet to figure out how to apply this to my professional work in a similarly satisfying way, however. But I'm still trying. In the meantime, I guess I can keep at it with small pieces like this.


  1. Hi Steven. I'm fond of your Logen portrait. I finished Abercrombie's Trilogy last week, but I've been walking around with the characters in my head since. You've done a brilliant job of rendering words into flesh.

    Cheers! and wishing you a Happy New Year 2015.


  2. Wow, I think that is really quite good, Steven.

    I have always imagined Logan as mostly unhappy looking. Also I have the idea that when "The Bloody Nine" is looking out of his eyes, he looks so different that you would think he is someone else entirely, mostly due to the (unholy) joy in his eyes. Kinda like
    " . . . wow, it is Logan ( * ) but he looks so different when he is happy".

    ( * the asterisk marking when the person doing the thinking turns into a ghost :) )

    Will you do him again, as The Bloody Nine ?.


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