Choosing the image and creating the composition is the hardest and most important part of what I do. The first painting above is the first image of Dylan that I've used, the second is the second. I used the second primarily because it is very similar to the Lennon image I use. I figured the pair would look good together. However, the difference between these Dylans demonstrates how important the step of choosing the image is to my process. The first is a much softer photo, more sculptural. It shows the volume, the curve of his face more. The second is much harsher, higher contrast. It relies on shape and edges more delicately to create shading and depth. Both are beautiful photos. I'm not placing judgement on either in comparing the two, just pointing out the impact on the final piece of the choice. The first ends up being a more subtle, but perhaps more realistic portrait, while the second is certainly more dramatic and bold, with the expression captured in details of shape rather than tone.
I thought I'd share this comparison because I just painted both, one for the Florida Music Festival and one for Wild About Music. They reveal different sides of the man: the contemplative songwriter and the forceful poet.