Lauren Bacall – A Portrait

Lauren Bacall, Actress and Model, b: 16 September 1924 – d: 12 August 2014

I was very sorry to hear that Lauren Bacall had died last month, at the age of 89.   She would have celebrated her 90th birthday today. The news of her passing came to my attention many days after the event, as I had been on holiday in Scotland when the news of her death had broke. I had seen her picture on the front of a newspaper in Scotland and assumed it was something to do with her approaching 90th birthday.
Lauren Bacall for blog
Lauren Bacall was another one of my favourite actresses and had been since I was a teenager. It was the sultry voice, the arch of her eyebrow and her panther-like way of moving that had attracted my attention. She had an amazing look of intelligence and sophistication, which was enhanced by the roles she played, often as a wisecracking woman of the world.

Like Ingrid Bergman, as mentioned in my post last month, I remember Lauren Bacall’s starring role in Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder On the Orient Express’ (1974). She played the part of the garrulous Harriet Belinda Hubbard. She always amuses me in this role, as the gum-chewing, non-stop-talking former actress, who seemed to fluster Hercule Poirot with her incessant chatter and the mention of her multiple husbands! However, it will be ‘The Big Sleep’ (1946), that I will vividly remember her for – her beauty and sophistication were very prominent, in her role as Vivian Rutledge, in this film noir classic, which starred Humphrey Bogart.

When I was younger my hobby was collecting autographs. I remember getting the address of Ms Bacall’s agent and writing her a fan letter, with my autograph request. It was an exciting day when the autograph arrived, with a personal letter. So many of the ‘BIG’ stars of the silver screen would not have bothered, but she wasn’t a person who forgot her fans. I still collect autographs now (only of the actors and actresses I personally like), but the autograph from Lauren Bacall will always hold a special place in my collection…

This portrait I produced of Lauren Bacall, created by using very small dots, was done by-hand and took many hours of patient and careful work. It was one of a number of movie star portraits that were featured in a small, private exhibition in Liverpool. The feedback of the portraits was very good at a time when I was just trying new techniques. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that I couldn’t quite bring myself to sell the majority of the pen-and-ink originals…

You don’t always win your battles, but it’s good to know you fought.
Lauren Bacall

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Ingrid Bergman – A Portrait

Ingrid Bergman, Actress, b: 29 August 1915 – d: 29 August 1982

I remember watching movies starring Ingrid Bergman from being a child. I recall seeing her afraid of her husband’s suspicious behaviour in one black-and-white movie and the suspense it created within me. In all of her movies she seemed to possess a striking complexion of an almost luminous quality. I think there were very few actresses that had ‘that look’.

I’ve seen Ingrid Bergman, mostly, in the film ‘Casablanca’ with Humphrey Bogart and her flawless features, along with the famous line…”Of all the gin joints, in all the towns…” is one of the most memorable aspects of the movie.

Ingrid Bergman for blog

Of course, I’ve seen many more of her movies, including ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), with Bing Crosby; ‘The Yellow Rolls Royce’ (1964), with its all-star cast and her very memorable characterisation of a children’s missionary worker in Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (1974).

This portrait of Ingrid Bergman, created by using very small dots, was done by-hand and took many hours of patient and careful work. It was one of a number of movie star portraits that were featured in a small, private exhibition in Liverpool. The feedback of the portraits was very good, at a time when I was just trying new techniques. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that I couldn’t quite bring myself to sell the majority of the pen-and-ink originals…

After I had typed all of the information, above, I looked up the name ‘Ingrid’ which is a Scandinavian name, derived from Old Norse. One of the interpretations of the name is ‘Beautiful and Fair’. With regard to Ingrid Bergman, it really couldn’t be more accurate…

Grace Kelly – A Portrait

Grace Kelly, Actress, b: 12 November 1929 – d: 14 September 1982

Grace Kelly is arguably one of the most iconic of movie stars and still retains a magical quality that matched her later life as a princess. There is so much beauty in her face, which strangely combines both strength and vulnerability. The movie ‘Grace of Monaco’, starring Nicole Kidman, is released today and reminded me of a portrait that I had done of Grace Kelly ‘many moons ago’.
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I drew this mono-pointillism (building the picture up by-hand with very small dots of ink) illustration in the early 1990’s, because I was amazed at the quality of this photograph of Grace. This illustration was framed along with several other portraits of movie stars, that I had drawn applying this drawing technique. They were exhibited on a rather grand staircase in Liverpool.  One of the viewers later told me that she thought I had, somehow, captured the essence of Grace’s haunting beauty in the picture and that she had been moved to tears when she saw it. It’s comments, such as these, that made all of those long hours, doing dot-after-dot, so very worthwhile…