How I Painted ‘MJ Magic’

Michael Jackson was an obvious choice of subject to paint as a gift for my friend’s birthday. I love painting MJ and for this I wanted to be a bit more creative and putting in some details to bring the painting to life. ‬

I knew I wanted to do this in acrylics in the style of my painting called ‘Pink Dancing Lady’. The background was to be mostly dark and with a burst of dust/sparkles coming from the glove. I looked for images of MJ performing ‘Billie Jean’ but not one of his typical poses. This one I loved because I know he is holding the pose for a second or two before moving on to the opposite leg. So it was that moment I aimed to capture but with my spin on it.

I chose deep violet (my favourite colour), magenta and white for my pallet. I did the background first working out how much light and dark I wanted. I spent a bit of time going over this to get it exactly how I wanted it. I didn’t want too much light and I wanted it blended so you could see the purple. I wasn’t after a harsh spotlight but a spotlight with a smokey feel to it.

Leaving the background to dry over night, I spent three hours the following day working on the figure. The proportions had to be spot on so I took my time drawing it with watered down deep violet and I had to get it exactly in the white space. At one point I had to re-do the hat and elbow. Then it was a case of building up in layers the shadows and the highlights. This would create a solid form so I had to get this correct. I used touches of magenta for mid tones to give it a bit more interest rather than being mono toned. For details I made sure I gave the illusion of sequins down the side of his leg and on his shoulder with tiny dots of paint.

My most favourite part was doing the dust/sparkles. Using a rigger brush I carefully added dots of pure white acrylic paint. Then with a tooth brush sprayed the white by the glove which produced a fine mist. I hope it shows in this piece that I really enjoyed painting the magic of Michael.

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