Thursday, 16 July 2015

The gorgeous Keira Knightley

Back in the autumn of 2005 I penned a love letter to Keira Knightley who had just split with her then Northern Irish boyfriend Jamie Dornan.

Dearest Keira

I know you have been quite upset recently with Jamie and you breaking up but hiding away with your friends and getting drunk every night in London town is not the answer. You need to gather up your pride and get back on that bicycle so please allow me to be the first to be bold enough to register my personal interest and invite you out on a dinner date with a view to perhaps becoming your dashing new beau! I think it’s best we stay well clear of Fleet Street and paparazzi for now as my pastor would not like to see me on the front page of the Sun newspaper with a half dressed atheist. Jealousy is an awful thing! You might think this proposal just a little presumptuous on my part, after all you hardly know me from Adam so before you rush to the internet and google my name,  let me bowl you over with a little non-googly something about myself. 

I have been seeing someone for the past few weeks so before you jump to the conclusion that I am off limits I need to explain the situation to you. When Meg and I first talked about entering into a relationship last month I did so on the strict understanding that if Keira Knightley, film star extraordinaire, should ever at any time give notice that she is available, drunk or otherwise, then the terms and conditions of our relationship would mean that it would be up for negotiation, perhaps even deemed null and void. I called it my Keira Proviso. You might think that this is simply a jokey, verbal agreement made between two consenting adults over a few glasses of wine while watching Bend it like Beckham on DVD. You’d be wrong. I’m strictly a Sprite person and I was of a sound enough mind to have had a document drafted by a solicitor who when he worked in London dealt solely in celebrity pre nuptial agreements. Meg did complain that it wasn’t a very romantic gesture to be handed a legal document as well as pay the bill on our first night out together at McDonalds in Sprucefield but I felt safe as she wasn’t wearing stilettos and she had little choice but to comply and sign on the dotted line. She did get a little weepy but we reached a compromise and went dutch on the food. Knowing you're a bit of a restaurant connoisseur, I had what she had (a McChicken Sandwich with chips) and though delicious, the food was definitely not as orgasmic as Meg made out.

Hopefully this explanation will have cleared what was probably the only doubt in your mind and all that remains now is for us to settle on where to meet. The top of the Empire State Building has been done before and it’s where Meg takes her guys, so let’s not go there. Might be embarrassing. Naturally you are welcome to visit Northern Ireland though it might be best to stay away from Holywood just in case Jamie is home for the weekend. We could get together at the top of the Europa the most bombed hotel in the world and admire the smog over Belfast. The KFC is close by so I could treat you out there. No need to buy me jeans or anything as a wee gift – After seeing Jamie half hanging out of the pair you bought him I think I'll choose my own thanks.

Alternatively, and this might work best given your West Ham commitments, I could fly out to your pad in London or if you preferred we meet in a more secluded place away from everyone – that’s fine by me too. I have heard the Caribbean is great now that the pirates have all been booted out! Just send out a private jet and I’ll be on my merry way! 

Love you in the clips Ive watch from Pride and Prejudice. The short hair suits you.

Hope to hear from you soon

Now how could I not so a tribute to a beautiful British actress who completely mesmerised me in Pride and Prejudice.

KEIRA  [38cms  x 26cms approx]
The Keira picture I used was taken from Google Images and I turned the pastel around in about ten days over the summer months. 

I tackled skin tones in a completely different way to earlier portraits using a lot of white pastel pencil as an undercoat and adding light tinted pink, grey, yellow and blue pastel pencils into the mix. And there was a right mix. There are probably six or seven layers in there slowly built up with extra white going in between layers – a bit like making lasagne with white the pasta I suppose. At this stage the painting was looking like a Venetian mask. Adding the eyes and the mouth really brought Keira to life. I was chuffed. It really was looking like her. I added in the darker areas that lay under her hair and made sure to go beyond the hairline as you can’t really do it later. The forty shades of green background was fingered in with soft pastels stopping just short of the skin but spreading lightly into the bald head area. I would use an appropriate set of green pastel pencils to kiss the background to her skin.

Now for the scary bit. Her hair. 

I’ve always failed with hair, even as a pencil artist I found it hard to replicate convincingly. I roadtested on spare pastelmat for colour, style and strand and it looked decent but reproducing that under pressure of a nearly finished artwork was more daunting. I think I managed to get Keira’s hair looking like hair and like it belonged on her lovely face, three dimensional and rounded with the light, shade and shadows in all the right places. And I loved the little wisps of hair dangling down over Keira's ear. I could not have pastelled them that thin six months ago. That's what comes of using razor blades instead of sharpeners to get a very thin lead.  

I stepped back and admired the painting, close up, upside down, in the mirror and from a distance. That was Keira Knightley. No question.

Definitely the best pastel I have done to date. And the quickest! 

Shortly after I had got Keira framed, Ray (who’s a real artist and not just a part-timer like muggins!) dropped round and told me that his London-based son Neil knew Keira’s agent if I ever wanted to get in touch! Some might think this proposal just a little presumptuous, after all Keira would hardly know me from Adam and she might have to visit the internet and google my name to see how valuable my work was before flying me out to her pad in London or jetting me off to the Caribbean with the painting. Now there’s a thought should I ever need a few pennies or alternatively be taken to court for infringing her and the image rights of the photographer/film studio.

This pastel painting started out as a labour of love and there is absolutely no way Keira and I are going to be parted. We’re in it for the long term. In sickness and in health. Though I have taken the liberty of having a Lady Sybil/Jessica Rose Brown Findlay Proviso drawn up.