aboutimage galleriescontactsubscribe

Chicken King for Smithsonian

JUNE 14, 2012

Recently I was asked to do the cover of Smithsonian Magazine.  The concept was how the chicken became one of mankind's favorite foods.  Their idea was for me to paint a chicken as some sort of royalty.
I love doing quasi master copies because I love the originals so much AND I get paid to teach myself something in the process.
The source image I thought of immediately was Henry the 8th by Hans Holbein.  The original is a masterful piece that is extremely intricate and more detail than I needed but I used the basic form and costuming to riff off of.
The background is sort of a curtain motif that has a hint of a classic European background.  If funny what part of a painting one loves doing.  Sometimes it's a collar and tie, sometimes it's a cloud and on this one it's the scene behind him.
I like the cover very much.  Of course, I think Marc Burckhardt would have killed this one and certainly done the cracks better than I did them.  He's a master of that craft and I stared at the painting he gave me for a long time before I did these cracks.  It's just such a crap shoot.  I ended up having to paint many of the cracks back in when the process went crazy.
I've been asked by many if I would sell prints of this chicken and yes, I will.
Please e-mail me directly about cost and size.
My sketch that was approved. I didn't show many options on this one.

Henry the 8th by Hans Holbein

The tiny background. I paint trees just like clouds...I just paint them green. SHHHHHH

Handsome Fellow.

All images copyright protected. Tim O'Brien