One of the forms of art that fascinates me is photo-realism. Not for it's artistic qualities, but for how technically perfect you have to be to be able to do it well. My first encounter with photo-realism came in College when my art teacher introduced me to the work of Chuck Close. Although much of Chuck's work now involves systematic abstraction, his early paintings were fantastic large photo-realstic portraits. I hadn't seen anything like it before. I wanted to be able to paint as well as this.
After a number of paintings in oil, my technique improved to the level that people would come out with the classic "Wow, that looks like a photo!" But, like the true perfectionist I am, I wasn't completely happy. The first painting that I did that I considered to be photo-realistic was a self-portrait I produced for my Art Foundation Final Show. Soon after I discovered Digital Art through Adobe Photoshop and the Wacom Tablet. I went through the same learning curve with Digital as I had with Oils and soon was able to paint just as well on the screen.
Ok, so why did I choose Rihanna? Well, I was really intent on producing a photo-realistic painting digitally and the image had to be really sharp to pull it off. So I started searching the web for Hi-Res portraits and I found this really sharp photo of Rihanna. It captured individual hairs and skin details that would be really difficult to paint and had good lighting and background color.