Dallas, Texas – November 22, 1963

It takes Photoshop about a second to render an image like this. It takes me about a month to paint one. Seven hundred eighty 5/8″ squares (including ‘edges’ not visible here). *hint* Step away from your monitor (or remove your glasses if you wear them) and the image blurs/merges into somewhat more recognizable shapes.

My inspiration here was the idea ‘memories/thoughts’ of/about events, time, place, etc. are often built-up in a second hand way… through photography, film, other media… blah blah blah. Anyway, apologies to Chuck Close fans. Believe it or not, I did not intend to completely rip off the master when I started this project. The guy is an absolute beast… I have no idea how he does it… ridiculously impressive.

Random question time! If you could have a conversation with any US president, who would you choose? I think I’d have to go with Lincoln (my first Lincoln piece here).

About this image: acrylic painting on 16″x16″ canvas


89 thoughts on “Dallas, Texas – November 22, 1963

    • Wonderful! Thank you, N.M…
      (this was another one where I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction it would get…)
      I do a pretty mean Clinton impression (a great wink/nod + lip bite + thumb raise), but once I start to talk the whole thing falls apart pretty quickly.

  1. Very cool. I like it. And I knew what it would be about as soon as I saw the title in my inbox. πŸ™‚

    I don’t want to talk to any leaders, dead or alive. Could I have a chat with Carl Jung instead? I’d really like that. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, S.E…
      Yeah… I didn’t want a very abstract title with this one… right to the point seemed appropriate…
      That’s cool, S.E.! Jung would sure be an interesting guy to talk to, wouldn’t he? I think he’d get pretty frustrated with having to break everything down to my level of understanding… but other than that… very interesting, indeed!

    • Thank you so much, Cristina!
      I have to admit… that’s still one of my favorites… I was very surprised at how close the results in that one matched my original idea (that doesn’t always happen for me!)

    • Thank you! The most difficult part of this one was choosing the original image…
      (in the end I think I went with this one because they were both smiling but kind of looking away, and I really liked how she was holding the flowers…)

      But if you went into a current White House they’d never let you out again, Dishy! You’d be made ‘First Chef’ immediately!

  2. Wow, SIG. You painted this?! Incredible. Initially, I assumed it was you and Annabelle; however, as I read and noticed the title, the pink clothing made it clear to me. This is incredible. Yes, I already said that. Forgive me.
    My answer to the random question…George W Bush. Folks think Obama has been treated with disrespect, but I remember Bush being insulted, mocked and treated with disrespect by countless people. I’d like to talk to him one on one. I’d say Lincoln, but I trust you’d share whatever you learned.

    • Hahaha… yeah… not a very complicated painting… but a very lengthy one! I swear those squares would multiply every time I came back to the thing!

      Interesting, Ms. D! I hadn’t thought about it from that angle!
      Hahaha… absolutely… in my new book! In stores this spring!

  3. I backed up as you suggested and saw buildings.
    I think Lincoln would be my choice as well to talk to. That’s an excellent piece you did of him too, as so is this one.
    Give my best to Annabelle.
    Hugs, xx

  4. Although your title gave it away, I had to turn my monitor around and back out of my office to truly see the picture. This is just great, SIG!

    I’d like to talk to Millard Fillmore because he’s the most obscure president I can think of.

  5. Brilliant! Even tho I had a clue as to what this was going to be, it still was a neat surprise to step back from the monitor and “see” the portrait reveal itself! πŸ™‚

    BTW… I once created two large portrait mosaics (each 30″ x 40″) where I cut 1″ squares out of magazines and glued them to the board. That’s 1200 squares per portrait. Alot of work but the results were really, really cool!

    • Thanks so much, M.P.! I do like the interaction with it that way, I think!

      That sounds really, really cool, M.P.! Where they family members or friends? Someone else? Whoever your subject(s), sounds like a TON of work involved there, too! I’ve never tried anything like that. At some point I’d really like to make a photo mosaic digitally (built up of smaller photos – or maybe ‘text’ – or both)… not very original at this point, I know… but just to say I tried it.

      • One was me and the other was my husband. The one of me was was actually an assignment I had in art/design school. It took about 60 hours to create. I remember HATING the assignment at first but was so amazed at what I had accomplished that I ended up creating the one of my husband as a gift to him for his birthday (I would only work on it when he wasn’t home).

        Me, too! I always LOVE those portraits created using teeny-tiny digital images. I’ve thought about doing that with all of our Disney images. We have so many that you’d think it by now I’d be able to create ‘something’. Just haven’t figured what the ‘something’ should be yet. Some day. πŸ™‚

        • Sounds very, very cool M.P.!
          The design class(s) I took were always taught by the same guy, and he tended to rotate / skip assignments / projects. My sections didn’t do anything like that, but the class that followed me did something similar (they built up an image using 4 or 5 patterns of varying density inked onto poster board). Most of them turned out really well!
          The Disney idea sounds like a lot of fun, too! I’ll be looking forward to checking it out some day!

  6. really clever i like this a lot my choice would be the cowboy ronald reagan dumb but i like him a lot a real grandaddy president xxjen

    • Thanks much, U.M.!
      Oh no – another film I haven’t seen yet! I really need to catch up! Do they still make that for ‘the VCR’s’ (can you tell I’m a bit out of touch)?!

  7. At first, I thought, “Something’s wrong with my download. What’s up with that picture?”
    Wow! What an amazing job, SIG! It’s abstract, yet recognizable.

    I think it would be interesting to talk to George Washington.

    • I almost feel the same way when I look at it on the screen vs. on the canvas… kind of messes with my mind that way! Thank you very much, Ms. C! One of the most difficult decisions with this one was deciding how abstracted to make this one… in the end I decided to go big or go home… I hope it was the right choice!
      Oh! Good call! That would be fascinating, wouldn’t it?!

  8. This is definitely out there SIG…
    Now whom would I choose?

    How about Georgey Boy? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Have a funtastic Tuesday SIG


  9. That is quite neat! I really like the effect. Sounds like it must have been a lot of work, though.

    And I can see it clearly (or should I say be blurrily) from about 18 inches away.

    • That is very kind of you to say! Thank you!
      It did take me a bit of time… several coats of paint on each square, too. I can see it when I’m in another room at this point (all I have to do is close my eyes… I think it’s burned into my brain at this point)!

  10. Fascinating piece. It brought two things: watching Oswaild being shot on live TV and Lego.
    I will never forget seeing that and then running downstairs to tell my mother.
    If you squint just right it looks like Lego John & Jackie.
    If I was to meet an American President, it would be Walt Disney (he was president of his company & he owned a Magic kingdom) – but I agree with Sync, first I want to meet Carl Jung. Then i will know what is wrong with me. πŸ˜‰

    • Good point! In my mind that even is associated with so many photographic/film snippets…
      I also think of the JFK Jr. Salute a lot… and that photo of LBJ being sworn in… well, I could go on and on, but I guess that’s kind of the point, in a way… maybe.
      Also, Legos = the best toys of all time, I think – so I’ll definitely take that!
      Hahaha… maybe old Walt would throw in some tickets to a ride or two… or some merchandise… or a snack?!

    • My thanks for shooting over, Ms. K…. I sure do appreciate that!
      As I do your great kindness – wow – what an incredibly generous thing for you to say! Just to be included in the same comment as Andy is enough to make my day! Did I mention wow?!

  11. this is so well done! i can hardly believe that i am old enough to remember this day, but i do. it was a school day – and while i don’t remember much of anything about it or even the ramifications at the time, i do remember classes ending early that day. everyone was dismissed ahead of the bell because of this tragic event. that school dismissal was here in Canada, mind you.
    a far-reaching event for sure. what a tragedy.
    and as far as your question goes, Lincoln would probably be my choice as well.

    • I had heard people say similar things… but those folks were here in the US. Interesting, P&K… I hadn’t realized that schools in Canada had done that, too… a very sad day, to be sure.

      Not a bad choice, right?! There’s something about him that almost can’t be put into words… you can almost feel that incredible presence just looking at those old photos…

  12. Very effective Bob. It’s etched deep in my psyche. It was the first time my parents let me stay up to watch the late night news – they felt it was that important. I was 7 at the time. Kennedy was greatly respected here in the UK. Now I’ll have to go and put Saxon’s Dallas 1pm on the Gramophone πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much, Martin! One of the nicest things I can hear is that someone can relate to an image on some level… really makes all those hours of painting seem worth it!

  13. I love this photograph, and your rendition is amazing. I gave it the snarky squint and saw it immediately.

    I would want to meet the president with the most experience: FDR. Especially with his tag…If there had been television at the time, FDR would never have been elected. I like the idea of the impossible.

    • Happy to hear that, Red! Selecting a reference image was a bit difficult… but I liked this one because both the president and first lady were looking off away from the viewer… and I thought the bouquet she was holding seemed quite appropriate as well. I also seriously considered doing something with the JFK Jr. salute or that photo LBJ being sworn in on the plane… still might, at some point.
      An terribly interesting time in history, wasn’t it? I made a Big Three piece a while back… FDR included, of course…

      • Those are other great images of the era. And yes, horridly interesting. I got a chance to talk to Jim Garrison and a few of his investigators a few times, all were filled with amazing stories. Indeed, very interesting.

  14. looking incredible yourself, it’s your talent that inspires me. I choose Jimmy Carter, and Joseph Cornell. I think they would have liked each other in an odd way so I could sit down with both.

    • Wowza! Thank you, S.F… I sincerely appreciate that!
      Very interesting! Picking an artist to talk to would be a difficult choice as well! I think I’d have to go with Edward Hopper… he’s been my favorite ever since I was a kid… something so honest about him. Seems like I could pretty much always relate to any piece of his in some way or another.

  15. Wow! not sure I have the patience like you do.

    I don’t think I would like having conversations with a president. frankly, I think they would be too smart and I wouldn’t know what to say.

    visiting from Jillsy girl.

    • Oh, I bet you do! Most the time when people say things like that they are just being modest… or selling themselves short… or both!
      Hmmm… this fits right in with my first comment! I’m fairly certain you would do just fine! And without the advantages modern executives have… an entire cast of ‘handlers’ / ‘speechwriters’ etc., too!
      Thanks so much for stopping by, Lissa! I sincerely appreciate it!

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