Monday, March 14, 2011

The Goddess (and her daughter) turns into The Goddess

This was the start of The Goddess and her Daughter.  I'd originally planned to just do the female figure, but then I realized I had a photo where her daughter was obliviously walking behind her as she posed.  I love the iconic nature of the image, turned funky with the daughter.  Some concern that it isn't clear what the daughter is since she isn't well-defined.  This version hung around my studio for a while as I tried to discern what to do with the strong yellow color.  I love the energy of it, but it wasn't what I wanted for the final version.  I'd drawn the whole thing with much energy with oil sticks while in class in DC one day.
The next version.  I finally decided to see what would happen if I would apply flesh colors over the yellow.  I loved it!  The yellow shines through, giving her a powerful glow, yet the flesh is realistic looking and gorgeous in its authenticity.
Third - After refining the bodies, I decided to give the piece an aura.  It stayed in the studio for a while like that as I tried to discern if it was too much or not.  My son Dylan came out and gave me the feedback that he thought it was too much.  He couldn't tell what the daughter was, and the yellow and red were overpowering the Goddess figure.  I tend to agree with him.  Three different elements in the one picture seem like too many.  I wish the daughter were nude too - then it would be clearer that she was a young child, but with her coat on, it's a bit confusing.  Her hand is also blurry, so that's unhelpful as well.  I think the yellow is too strong with the red aura and somewhat overpowers the figure.
I painted out the daughter and let that be for a few hours.  Still the yellow and red seemed like too much.

The Goddess, oil on canvas, 62"x25"

The final version - for now, at least!  I used a lot of different shades and tones and hues of red around the body - not easily visible online, I don't think.  But I think I'm most pleased with this.  It emphasizes the figure and her beauty and grace in a way the other versions didn't because there was so much to look at.  I really want the viewer to be taken in with her, her figure, her beauty, her grace.   Having the other elements detracted from it.

It was an interesting process trying to figure out the way to go with this.  It's so different when I  start with a photo and end up with a photorealistic representation of what I began with versus starting with a photo but varying it significantly as I did here (in the background at least).  It's a more vital process, more lively and involved.  Slower and more engaging.  I don't know if it's better or worse - just different...

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