Rebel Without a Cause

How did this come to be?

I don’t usually love painting human faces. Mostly, because I can’t seem to make them perfect. And I’m a perfectionist. You see the problem, don’t you?

The “James Dean” Rebel Without a Cause portrait is a commissioned piece.
My patron is a fan of James Dean, a Rebel Without a Cause, a movie starring James Dean.


He love the movie, but he wanted his James Dean to be more of an art piece.
So, I asked for images of other artwork that he enjoys, or would have in his home.
My patron enjoys a more rough and edgy style, and sent me the following image.


It took my wheels a little bit to turn in the direction of messy. I’m so particular and detail oriented. Messy AND a human face? But I love a challenge. I love trying something new.
I started sketching images of James Dean, over and over. I wanted his face to look like his face.
I fell in love with James Dean while tracing and re-tracing his eyes, and his mouth. And while reading about him for this commission.

Once I got into it, it was fun to put things in places where they should not be.  To add messy elements- a splash here,  a drip there…. and make a mess!!
(Read: a controlled mess.)

I used acrylics on canvas, so that I could layer my messes, and gain a little more control.
I also wanted the final piece to be light and easy to mail.

At the end of the day, the final 16×20″ canvas painting turned out well, and I LOVE it.

James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause

I also love that it challenged me to reach outside my box, and MAKE A MESS! A controlled mess… 😉

I sell prints, and swag from note cards to coffee mugs with this handsome guy’s face on it in my etsy store.


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