The Shining

A homage poster painting to the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film The Shining featuring Jack Nicholson.

The 1977 Stephen King novel and the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film for me are of an equal. People will argue and disagree over their favourite but the book and film hold their own against each other and offer tantalising differences that strangely increase the lure of each other. Visually of course the Kubrick and Johnson written film is stunning, the patterned flooring that Danny whizzes around on his scooter, the twins standing in the hallway, the party in full swing in the lounge, the frozen hedge maze, redrum, all work and no play… the list goes on and has become part of cinema history.

Kubrick was notoriously hard to work with on The Shining but again apparently all the arguments, daily script changes, excessive retakes and the obsessively long production time were no accident and helped bring about the performances that Nicholson, Duvall and others brought so brilliantly to the screen. It’s fair to say I’m a big Kubrick fan. From an early age my favourite film was Spartacus and I take a particular joy in waiting as long as I can between repeat viewings of 2001, Paths of Glory, A Clockwork Orange and any of his other nine feature films.
Painting something from The Shining seems like an inevitable thing in many ways as I often consider producing images from films that I’ve long admired. In this case I started by wanting to paint a portrait of Jack Nicholson from the film but didn’t want to go down the full manic route that most pick. I wanted to capture that brooding, ghost drunk, slack mouthed evil that was lurking as the Overlook Hotel whispered inside his head. In the process of deciding what to paint I realised that I wanted to create two more paintings from the film and I hope that I will be able to proceed with the second image soon. I’ve done a lot of portrait painting in watercolours but I knew that I was going to be using a very limited palette and could see the benefit of using acrylic paint to help build in a series of washes for a strong and vibrant look.

Having completed the painting I decided to create a design for US 1 Sheet movie poster, with titles and credits in place. The other two images I wish to create in the future I can see working well as poster designs so in the end I hope to have a little triptych in homage to the iconic film.
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