About Stars

Stars” evolved from my love of classic movies, particularly “Gone With The Wind”.  After seeing the 1939 classic on television in 1978, I started collecting volumes of books with classic stills of stars from the “Golden Age of Hollywood”. One of these “coffee table” books was “The MGM Story”. On its cover was a composite of photos from the MGM stable of stars. That gave me the idea to combine my favorite photos of stars from the past into a black and white acrylic painting that would eventually take me seven years to complete. I started my painting with my favorite actor of them all – Clark Gable. I placed “The King” of Hollywood in the center of the canvas and let the others emanate from there. To Gable’s immediate left, I painted his co-star from “Gone With The Wind”, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, and my centerpiece was complete. From there I worked in a clockwise direction, starting with Jean Harlow, and continued with other notable faces from the silent screen, such as Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino. As I progressed to the outside rows, the faces would include my favorites from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and with the inclusion of Jack Nicholson, the 80’s. The photos were taken from glamour photography, magazine covers and scenes directly from classic movies. The face I used for Spencer Tracy’s image for instance was from the movie “Captains Courageous”, and though it doesn’t particularly look like Tracy in some of his later movies, I used it because I felt it was probably his first significant role. Part of the challenge of the composition was to find photos in my collection that faced the actors in the proper direction for their particular placement. In order to give the painting the depth I sought, I painted the actors to be looking toward the outside edge until the final row, where I turned them to be facing back toward the center. For additional depth, I increased the size of the faces slightly as I worked outward. To further complicate my placement options, I tried to balance the men and the women as evenly as possible. John Wayne was painted diagonally across from Clint Eastwood to represent two tough western stars and Marilyn is painted in an opposite corner from another sex symbol, Sophia Loren. The Three Stooges, representing comedy, are balanced by four other comedians in a row across the bottom. Then there are the rebels, James Dean and Marlon Brando occupying balanced positions at the bottom row. Racquel Welch accordingly was placed opposite another sex symbol, Brigitte Bardot. Cagney opposite Bogart, Shirley Temple opposite Judy Garland and…well you get the idea. Finally, in 1985 the painting was completed. I entered it in the Washington Town and Country Fair where it won a blue ribbon in the acrylic painting category and, except for that brief shot of exposure, it has remained largely unseen except by my friends and family – until now! It is my desire, with these 500 limited edition prints, to share some of the enjoyment I have received from viewing these extraordinary faces with others. I hope they will bring you some of the pleasure they have given me!