An Influential and Respected Man

He may not look like a villian however Signor Ferrari played by Sydney Greenstreet  is on the side of money.  He’s an opportunist and in his own words  with  a touch of humor, “As the leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca, I am an influential and respected man.” Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, simply categorises him as a “fat hypocrite”.  Ouch!  I guess they weren’t as sensitive about obesity remarks back in the day.  Body weight does not make one any more or less  a hypocrite.

Nonetheless,  Sydney Greenstreet was an impressive actor in front of the camera or on stage. He worked with such big stars as Clarke Gable , Ava Gardner and Jimmy Stewart, just to name a few. The above cartooniture ( my caricatures) pays homage to a star with a bubbly deep laugh that could make anyone feel at home. Christmas in Connecticut is one of my favorite holiday movies in which Sydney Greenstreet plays in.  He died in 1954  from diabetes and kidney failure.

Okay, as promised I’m gonna give you a peek at how I paint these little paintings.

First there is the initial sketch.  This took me awhile.  I had to totally trash my original design to arrive at what’s below.

Greenstreet has this jolly quality about him so I went with the sketch on the far right.

That’s a 2B (soft) woodless pencil above that was used to outline the drawing so I could transfer it onto the canvas by tracing. (like this)

Next I moved on to a basic under-painting.  Something for a little hue underneath the grayscale painting (monochromatic, I guess).  The orange is a burnt orange wash and I used white with a touch of tahiti blue (Americana craft paint) for his shirt.

Now it’s time to mix some grey paint (white, little black and a touch of dark blue) and fill in over the orange.

I started painting a flesh tone over his face as well.  It will all be black and white but the under painting colour will help

give it a certain richness. You may have noticed I toned down the size of the eyebrows.

The hat was painted in black (actually it wasn’t 100% black. I wanted the black outline to stand out a bit so I added some white to the black for the hat.  You can see the shirt was started in the next frame and then , finally, a nice sharp outline using a script liner.

I think there is only one more main character to cover in then they’ll all be on stage to take a bow, so to speak.  A promise to the younger folk; I will God-willing, do some characters from a more contemporary film. It’ll be fun!

Thanks for taking the time to visit and as Senor Ferrari would say, “It was gracious of you to share it with me.”


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