Little Bit Of Wonderful

Daily Inspiration and Motivation to Make You Smile

Singing The Blues…

Most of my art is very optimistic.  

But I wanted to go a little dark (I know it’s ironic, since my version of dark is still a Disney princess looking forlorn).

During the time of this painting I was taking acting classes…

One of the girls in the class, CC, was incredibly hot and very unique.  She was a jazz singer who spent a fair time of brooding.  She invited me to attend a concert of hers at (if memory serves) the downtown Standard in LA.  I sketched her singing and decided I’d turn it into a painting.

Mike L. Murphy - Jazz Singer Painting sketch

Original sketch I did at the concert.

Mike L. Murphy - Jazz Singer Painting sketch

Sketch I did later after the model posed. (See reference pics below).


To really complicate my life (hindsight is 20/20) I got the bright idea to use gold leaf.

Gold Leaf is evil!


It’s super thin and crinkles.

You touch it.  Crinkle.

You breathe on it.  Crinkle.

You look at it.

Yep.  Crinkle.

Luckily photoshop has cleaned up the serious crinkle issues I had.  I remember having to glue these little strips of gold leaf onto the canvas, only to see them crinkle when they hit the wet glue.  I know there are gold leaf masters out there, but sadly I am not one of them.

After CC’s concert I created some concept sketches.  You can see how I was playing around with the colors.  Ultimately I decided to go in a totally different direction and make the background completely abstract.

Mike L. Murphy - Jazz Singer Painting sketch

Warm color variation with character in cool colors.

Mike L. Murphy - Jazz Singer Painting sketch

Warmly dressed character in cool background colors.

CC came over to my pad and posed for some reference pics:


Dry erase marker standing in for a cigarette. No lungs were harmed in the making of this painting.


Close up of face and fingers.


Pose version #1. I told CC to move around and ‘try on’ different poses.


Pose variation #2. A little too sexy.


This is the final pose I decided to go with. She nailed it! However I changed her head position so she’d be looking forward. This made for a better composition.

Once the reference images were shot I created this color study sketch:


Which led me to create the final line work that would get transferred to the large canvas:


The Final Image:

Singer painting by Mike L. Murphy

The completed painting.


If you like this painting, check out The Actress!