“Paint me like your Frenchman”

There’s nothing quite like the self-imposed pressure of painting a friend’s motorcycle, nevermind also needing to get as close a likeness as possible on the portrait side of things – for 2 reasons:

  1. He’s a bodybuilder … #aesthete
  2. He’s a bodybuilder and can lift things and break things

So in my quest to build up my own portfolio of paintings and to upskill, I pulled this really cool photo of François and his Honda Fireblade off his Facebook page and set about splashing it out on canvas.

It took a long time… lots of caffeine… and a playlist ranging from Audioslave to Tori Amos, Live and The XX. You want the process? I’LL GIVE YOU THE PROCESS!

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Laying down base “colours” – a whole spectrum of greys.


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With my usual technique of building the back layers up in order to keep clean lines, I had to focus on the bike first and, while trying to be neat, to also stay away from micro-painting every single little detail of the machinery.


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When some painting sessions were done in short bursts, I decided to lay down the base colours of Frenchie himself – initially making him look like a white celebrity chef in pastel corduroys *haha*, so that took the edge off and made it fun for me… in light of the torture that was about to ensue!


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Okay, so that’s the bike done – messy CBR badge and everything.


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The original photograph was taken before  François removed the decals from his bike, so I decided to honour the updated look by keeping the stark white fairing. Here you also get to see a bit of my workspace… so nice to have a permanent space in which to make such a big mess!


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Jeans! Argh! Can’t I go back to painting mechanical stuff?! At this point it was tough to keep things loose and not be tempted to paint everything down to the freaking seams of those pants.


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Same goes for the shirt. Give me strength…


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Ta-da! I’m really happy with it 🙂 … especially because Frenchie’s likeness is as close as I was going to get in the 2 hours I spent on painting his face (I’m not slow – painting is hard).

I’m not sure I’ll sell this piece – it’s getting framed to be used as marketing material… and because I miss my friend since moving and this is a great way to fondly remember our rides ❤


4 thoughts on ““Paint me like your Frenchman”

  1. I really enjoyed reading that. It gives insight on so many struggles through the process that a non-artist could not understand. Excellent process, awesome result. Thanks Cole

    Liked by 1 person

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