On September 11, 2010, I met Maria Hegg for the first time, to photograph her before creating the painting I had in mind – Hotter Than Hell. The photoshoot took place in Stockholm at the home of Tallee Savage who did Maria’s make-up, but these photos did not appear in any painting. Instead, it became the basis for digital photo art, which over time developed into a more pure photographic form.
Hotter than hell as the painting here was aptly named, I photographed Maria at my home in Västerås on November 11, 2011. Much has happened since then but finally about 13 years later the time had come to complete the original of 155 x 105 cm. It’s never a frictionless journey about a painting and I have at least repainted the portrait about 3 times. Details have been tweaked many times and so has the final finish. The idea from the beginning was to create a rather rough painting without ending up in an overly well-defined style, but the result was a middle ground towards what I thought at first.
Photographing the original Hotter Than Hell
Photographing an original to create a fine art quality print, especially in oil, can be tricky, especially if the original is large as in this case. It is also tricky when you want to create a copy that is as accurate as possible, where colors and texture should be highlighted as fairly as possible. Without going into technical details, cameras are not really that smart, but after a series of different tests, I had a good starting point to work on.
The fine art print
After shooting, I turn to digital editing of the images to maximize the result by adjusting details according to how I experience the original. The difficult thing in this case has been all the color shifts in the warm color scale. Very easily, the colors become flat where in fact nuances are only perceived as one and the same color. It is just as easy to lose details in texture, which also contributes to the vibrancy of the painting.
The Hotter Than Hell original ended up being a cool painting and it has a very cool frame too – a matching burnt frame that is protected with matte finish hardened lacquer. Below you can see me holding a small copy of the framed fine art canvas.