Hera Grows Suspicious ….. again and Rhapsody illustrate the dilemma of my diversity as an artist. I had grown weary of painting headless, handless, footless, naked, female torsos. The head, hands and feet are expressive elements of a figure’s body language. I wanted more content in my painting. I want to express a greater depth of content both visually and spiritually. Depicting universal archetypes satisfies part of that desire.

Hera began as a practice study of a female head, using a photograph I took of my daughter, Nicole, as reference. A simple pencil sketch was followed by watercolor washes. Charcoal redefined the features, followed by more clarification with watercolor and gouache. I had achieved a well formed head that resembled my daughter. It captured her features, but not her personality or spirit. A few irrational marks with pastel brought the painting to life, the character taking on a personality of her own, not Nicole’s. I carried it a bit further with a few more illogical lines, letting the artist within me direct my marks and decide when to stop. The artist within is emphatic about when a painting is resolved and I am obedient.

Rhapsody began in my usual manner of painting which is to throw splats and splotches of paint onto paper, allowing the layers to dry between throws. When an image begins to emerge, I begin to clarify the vision and tune into the energy of the marks. Sometimes other figures emerge. Rhapsody, no matter how long I worked on it, would never have evolved into the depiction of an archetype, would never have the depth of personality that Hera has. Instead it expresses another side of my spirit, a more whimsical world of illusion, fantasy and imagination. As with Hera, my inner artist nudged me to stop and I obeyed.