I started by wetting the paper, then randomly adding splashes of washes. I sketched in the nymph, outlining her with pen. I added some more splashes of color. When it was dry I added a little detail, turning the blobs into a landscape.
I mixed my colors so they would be dull and soft. This gives the painting a dreamy look which I rather like.
This was inspired by one of the photos in Mihaela Noroc’s atlas of beauty. I was scrolling through the photos, when suddenly I reached this young girl, and couldn’t move on. She was so young and beautiful, but seemed to have the wisdom of a very old woman. Long did I look into her hypnotic stare, unable to move on.
The room about me was dark, with only a small lamp to light the scrap of paper I began working on. She continued staring at me from the computer as I gradually applied layer after layer of thin wash.
I have lost the beauty and tenderness of the original, but seemed to have captured instead that deep wisdom, that mystery that attracted me in the first place.
Patience – I tried to master patience and restraint while carefully outlining every petal. When finally the whole flower was drawn out, I prepared my washes. Slowly and carefully I applied them. There were no running washes on the flower, just thin and relatively dry layers of paint. Only on the background did I really let the water run. I like the background – wet washes do have a charm.
There is a softness and gentleness about this flower. It is seems so pure, its petals folding into each other modestly, concealing potential of a royal fruit. Patience was worthwhile.
I went to visit the Vatican, and got caught up in a strong current of tourists. They swept me to this round room, and there I stopped. All around me were mighty statues of pagan gods, each in its grand posture, larger than life. Above, at the center of the round domed ceiling, was a round skylight, and through it the sunlight fell upon one mighty goddess. I gazed up at her in awe, and admired her strength and grace. She was Ceres, goddess of agriculture. I stood there long, imprinting her in my memory and sketchbook, oblivious to the sweat the sun was wringing from my skin.
A couple of weeks later I found myself at my desk at home, with a tiredness that made me shrink from important and urgent tasks. It was late at night, and I had no mind left. I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen, and simply let go…
I like the water that comes splashing up from her staff, it is an expression of her might, and a pleasant contrast to the sweltering heat I remember from the Vatican. I like how everything is connected, how her dress merges with the earth, and her head is linked to the sky. She seems to be bursting with power and fluid possibilities, but I hope her right hand has some gentleness left.