R.L. Burnside: Hard Time Killing Floor

I’ve finished the painting of R.L. Burnside today, except for the last coats of varnish. It’s easier to photograph with this matte finish than it is with the gloss. This is a terrible shot, but I don’t have enough light to work with. It’s enough to tell what’s going on in the painting, anyway. I’m happier with this version, so far. I don’t think I’ll bother destroying it again if I start to hate it again. When I get better photos I’ll post them.

hard time killing floor

Last year I painted a portrait of R.L. Burnside for a local show. No you can’t see it. Really. I loved the piece when it was finished, and made sure to price it so high that no one would buy it, because I wanted to keep it. After the show I hung it, and about a month later was sick of it, and disgusted with myself for not being able to see its flaws earlier. You can’t see it because I destroyed it. I whited out the entire panel, determined to start again. We’ll see how it goes this time. I’m nearly done, and happy so far. Cautiously happy.

R.L. tells a story on one of his albums about how two brothers, an uncle and his father were all murdered in Chicago– in separate events– within the space of a year. Oy. I decided to use that to flesh out the portrait. Below is a sketch of a small part of the painting– of the death of one of his brothers. All R.L. says about it is that his brother was fooling around with another man’s wife, and that’s probably why he was killed.
My next post should be the finished painting.