Rane Willerslev graciously agreed to stand for this large full-length portrait.
You probably already know this. But if you become a portrait artist, there is sort of a chicken-and-egg situation. You do not receive portrait commissions from anyone unless others can see a great likeness and recognise the sitter. Now you could paint Auntie Mary, but guess what? No one except your family knows that wonderful woman.
Hence I approached a few persons to offer a free portrait, against being able to demonstrate or advertise my portraiture service. My own selection criteria was A) a person I personally admired B) had a characteristic face and C) was known in public. For the uninitiated, Rane Willerslev is the director of The National Museum of Denmark.
The portrait is fairly large. The idea was to capture Rane’s flamboyant personality, energy, and gestures. So, in this composition I made him approach us walking up the Stormgade colonnade by the museum. The perspective has been manipulated slightly to make work.
Here is the preliminary sketch from the moment this was in my mind’s eye. Like many sketches, this one looks like a dog’s breakfast, but it served well as preparation and now it is fun to look back at.