Good news! I have found a model for my painting of Joseph Smith. I am very excited about this. The model that I found has similar features to Joseph Smith and I believe that with a little bit of tweaking, I can pull of a very convincing likeness to the Prophet.
Now that I have found a model to work from, I needed to collect the appropriate costume pieces that I am going to use in the painting. I spent close to an hour online, searching for traditional clothing from the 1800s. I found some wonderful resources, including free printable patterns for dress shirts with collars, waistcoats, and vests. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or resources to make everything. I will have to make do with some of the things I already have on hand. However, the one thing that I needed to make was a cravat, or necktie from the 19th century.
I bounced around several different websites about 1800s fashion, and finally got an answer on Wikipedia. There are several different types of cravats and several different knots that can be used with one. For my project, however, I simply needed to make an oversized bowtie that would be a little floppy. So I googled "how to tie a bow tie" and found some easy to follow instructions. I cut out my cravat that I plan on using in the actual painting and started to practice on a big candle that I have in my living room. After a few tries, I got the hang of it.
I am not sure when I will have a chance to set up my model in costume, since the Christmas holidays are just around the corner, but I will be posting my progress as I get along with this project. It is one of those things that I simply can't explain, but this painting keeps nagging at me and I can't stop thinking about it. I wish I could describe the feeling I get when an idea grips hold of me like this, but it is impossible to put into words. I will have to settle for pictures.