Gene Wilder. Wow. Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka, Leo Bloom, Sigerson Holmes, Jim. Think of all his movies! A comic genius who left an indelible mark on cinema, Mr. Wilder made us laugh until we cried. He passed away yesterday. And so last night I found myself painting away at a portrait of one of his most joyous characters from one of my favorite books, Willy Wonka from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Oddly, I first saw the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in my late teens. I had seen most every other Gene Wilder film but Wonka escaped me. I remember being terrified that the magic of the book would be lost. I shouldn't have worried. I was hooked as soon as Gene Wilder made his brilliant first appearance at the entrance to the chocolate factory.
My fiancé Chelsea and I share a love for Willy Wonka (and Gene), so to ease our pain I painted this portrait. I don't often draw humans and likenesses are difficult for me, but somehow this worked out. Maybe it was all of the candy I ate. I hope it is a fitting tribute to Gene Wilder's life. May your legacy live on through us all, Mr. Wilder.