Sam Elliott has been around since the dawn of time (well, the dawn of my time, which dates from roughly the late sixties, in practical terms. I was sort of subliminally aware of him when he was on Mission Impossible, but of course I was so hopelessly preoccupied with Leonard Nimoy (still grieving over the loss of Star Trek, which hadn't yet gone into syndication) that I didn't really have any attention free for anybody else.
Then there was the fact that he was just too good-looking, which I found strangely off-putting.
original: 5.5"x8", Photoshop composit of two ball-point pen originals, 1990
But then I saw Fatal Beauty in 1987 because, of course, I am a devoted Whoopi Goldberg fan. And Elliott suddenly riveted my attention, purely aside from the fact that he'd turned gorgeous in a very elemental way. A friend of mine contends that men don't get really interesting until they're into their forties, and I'm inclined to agree with her. It's like they finally move in and unpack, somehow. It didn't hurt that his chemistry with Whoopi Goldberg is probably the best I've seen her play against. (I'd love to see them do another movie together)
But in addition, there was something strangely familiar about him which I still haven't managed to put my finger on. A big piece of it turned up when I happened to be leafing through my art from Minneapolis, and ran across my painting of a wizard. The resemblance was rather spooky (well, okau, it is in my mind, okay?), as if I'd somehow anticipated how Elliott would look ten years from the last time I'd seen him.
original: 5.5"x8", ball-point pen, 1988
How he qualifies as someone "in my head" is that one of the first things I tend to do when I get fascinated with an actor is start spinning characters for him to play. Sometimes it takes (as with George Carlin and Cas, and sometimes it doesn't. Sad to say, this one didn't. But I actually got a few good drawings out of the deal. I was working on generally improving my technique, and I've found it's much easier to put in the hours necessary to complete a quality drawing if you're working on a subject you enjoy looking at.
--23 August 1997