When I came across this porcelain boudoir lamp,
it called out my name. Most boudoir lamps are very victorian
and frilly. This one was much simpler and I felt I could
design an image that would be more American than French.
While studying the lamp outside in the sunshine, I realized that
it would be more dramatic if the woman figurine was lit with the
light from the lamp itself.
I brought the lamp into my studio and lit it after putting an
old cardboard shade on it. She was beautiful! Now, what
story is she telling? Feeling that she looked like she was
posing at the end of a Broadway play, I started thinking of
plays that had a woman in a lead role that resembled my lamp
An American in Paris fit the bill. I could make her hair dark
and find a man to be her partner in the play.
That's where Shawn comes in. Shawn is the father of
Matthew, the little cowboy in "Trail Break." I'll position Shawn
to the right of the lamp, offering flowers to the lady of the
I've condensed the play poster to fit my
Here is the lamp with the figurine's hair darkened to match the
woman in the play.
My apologies to Shawn. He's a handsome man and my first
pass of paint didn't do him justice. I'll handsome-him-up
with the final layer of oil pigment.
Here's a look at the man's offer of flowers to the star.
This shows the overall canvas before the final shadowing of the
"Love A Lamp" is at the half way point, with all areas of the
canvas addressed. I'll paint a second layer over the
entire canvas, making adjustments to the hues and values.
The shade on the lamp has been rendered with the glow of the
light bulb shining through.
My focus now is on the background. I've darkened the
various areas of the background and altered the colors.
Here's a close-up of the thicker oil applied around the Eiffel
The same has been done around the lettering to the right of the
With the background color in, I'll finish the Eiffel Tower, the
lettering and the couple in the poster.
These close-ups give you an idea just how juicy thick some of
the final brush strokes are.
The lettering is painted in, shading it where the lamp shade
casts a shadow.
The couple in the poster also get a painterly application of
Here's a photo of the entire area.
I'm working on the lady of the lamp, particularly on her flesh
tones and hair. After rendering the details of her face, I
like to go to a larger brush and do some of the less detailed
areas with a more painterly attitude.
Although her face is only an inch tall, you can see that I
applied the thick paint as if it were a larger portrait.
The lamp socket is painted. This is such a nostalgic piece
of electrical hardware. We have all put our hands on older
lamp switches and this one is very generic and I love it!
I've finished the man's head, hands and shirt. The paint
is thick and expressive.
The bouquet of flowers is also complete. I'll finish his
legs and shoes next.
The man and the ground beneath him are finished. Notice
how the man's shadow lightens as it gets further away from him.
This shows how light enters shadows when there aren't any
objects blocking its entrance.
The cord of the lamp may seem like a strange thing to highlight
in this step-by-step, but it tells the viewer that the lamp is
plugged in and that it is a real object.
Here is "Love A Lamp" all finished. It is a fun dramatic piece
that shows how a simple light fixture can evoke emotion and be
the center of the light source.