Brady's Custer

by Tim Buck
(Burke, Virginia)

Custer and Rembrandt 2 portrait paintings

Custer and Rembrandt 2 portrait paintings

I started painting a few years ago while living in Japan. Tried the Ross method, but couldn't get it to work.

Starting with photos I took, i tried doing Japanese landmarks, and eventually (over several years - I'm slow) came to my favorite subject - US Military history in the 1800's.

I noticed that there were not many portraits of 1860's-1870's military figures - photography was the big thing. So, I decided to try and paint one of Brady's subjects as if he had lived during Rembrandt's time.

I studied a little on the Dutch Masters' style and methods, and am pretty pleased with what I ended up painting. I have learned more about this style since (I didn't understand the gray under-painting process).

The most difficult part was developing the color scheme when there are no color photo's (or even paintings that I could find) of Custer. He was known as "Yellow Hair" and is almost always portrayed as being blond, but a close look at his photos reveals a freckled face and I presumed he probably had sandy/reddish hair.

Anyway, I am working more as I have time on developing this portrait technique. Also, this painting is accompanied by the next painting I did after someone told me to loosen up (they thought Custer was too "precise"). So, I tried to copy a Rembrandt self portrait.

It is not terribly accurate, but definitely looser than Custer.

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Jan 31, 2011
a great portrait!
by: Delmus

Hi Timothy, thanks for posting. These are wonderful portraits, and both have captured the likeness's of the subjects. I hope to see more of your work.

By the way, I had some great comments for your HH Buck portrait, but somehow, the photo got lost in cyber space. It would be great if you could repost it, and maybe even include the reference photo.

Best wishes, and keep up this great work!


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