Just as man is the height of God’s creation, portraiture is the epitome of artistic expression in realistic art. A good portrait will not only give an accurate portrayal but breathe the character of the person portrayed. These portraits began with older photographic images that Ken was able to adjust and add oil colors too. Ken says it is like paint by number. It’s easy when you figure out where the numbers are.
Mark Twain is a renowned American humorist and novelist. He grew up by the Mississippi River and put this location in several of his novels including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The portrait was fashioned after an outstanding photograph. It is one of a series of photographs taken by A.F. Bradley for the purpose of helping California poet laureate Ina Coolbrith after she lost her home in the fire following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In his New York City studio, Bradley placed Twain on a revolving platform to make the capture of different lighting “looks” easier on the subject. The portraits were signed by Twain and sold for Coolbrith’s benefit. Twain said four of the series were the finest images ever taken of him. Ken has also painted Ina Coolbrith from early photographs.
This painting was composed to show the amazing love between a mother and her children.
Ken has had a passion for finding old black and white images of famous people from when photography first began and turning them into portraits that come alive. One of his most recent works is a set of pictures of the Wright brothers. These inventors idealize the American dream of rising to achievements that change the world. They were just bicycle makers but had a passion that drove them to study and experiment until they met success and achieved powered air flight.
The photographs for these paintings were pictures the Wright brothers took of themselves in 1905. They are found in the Library of Congress.
Fredrick Douglas was born a slave. He observed that reading was a key to his freedom and learned how to read from poor white boys he met on the streets. He finally escaped to freedom in the disguise of a sailor on a train. He was an eloquent and vocal abolitionist, writing his call for freedom in a newspaper called The North Star. The photograph used to create this portrait was taken in 1856, five years before the Civil War.
The American drama is poignantly portrayed in the account of the Battle of Little Bighorn. The Indians had united and gathered under the vision of Sitting Bull. They defeated the American cavalry who underestimated their strength, killing General Custer and his men. Public outrage fired retaliation and thousand of soldiers were sent in response. Ultimately, Sitting Bull would flee to Canada for a time. When he did return, he lived on a reservation and was monitored by the military to stop him from stirring up another uprising. Sitting Bull earned money by charging for his autograph and picture. The photograph used in this painting was taken in 1885, nine years after the Battle of Little Big Horn.
16″ X 20″available
Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman suffered an oppressive childhood but had a determination in her soul that led her to do amazing things. She found her own way to freedom and then continued to work the underground railroad until she had helped 300 other people to freedom. She had amazing fortitude, compassion and creativity. She would sometimes use costumes to avoid being captured.
Porter Rockwell was a body guard for the prophet Joseph Smith and a colorful frontiersman. This image of Porter Rockwell was painted for the Draper City, Utah at the time the opened the Porter Rockwell Trail.
Since that time Ken has painted several other images of Porter Rockwell.