Art Monday: young Charles v.1

Darwin Day is fast-approaching, and this year I'd like to focus on a portrait of the younger Charles Darwin. It's one of two ideas I have to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species.

While waiting for a flight to North Carolina, I used George Raymond's famous watercolour of an early-thirties Charles as a reference. This portrait was done after Charles returned from his 5-year voyage on The Beagle, and is usually taken as being representative of how Charles would have appeared in his Beagle days.

I'd like to capture some of that spirit of robust energy in the younger man on the voyage. The type of man who could ride horses around South America, dig up megatherium fossils, brave the rocky Galapagos and hot sun, and see the world with fresh eyes.I began with this sketch while sitting in the airport.

Hmm. A little too jowly, or wide-faced? Muttonchops not muttony enough? I plan to do longer, wind-ruffled hair and a confident smile. I'd also like to give him a bit more hair than the Raymond piece. A lot can happen to a man in five years. My sketch seems to be a long way off of this fine portrait. What do you think on the right track

Karen James of The Beagle Project suggested I try to live-blog the painting on Darwin Day. I may attempt that. But the two competing ideas I have may end up being one piece and so I need to prep early. That means sketching and working up to a final drawing.

We'll see. And megatherium may make an appearance this year. *wink*

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.

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