I'm about 95% done with this pastel of Helga and one of the ways I can gauge if I'm done or not is how it looks in a photograph. It's been said that the camera doesn't lie so it is the truth detector for pointing out weaknesses, areas that don't make sense, or just colorations that aren't believable.
It's my favorite time of year for working in the shop. Too cold to do much else!
I got an email from my friend, Sandy, at Refuge Farms. She would like some art to commemorate her dear Laddee who passed last fall. Laddee was a special lady, indeed! (As is Sandy!) We had talked about having something made in her image months ago and it has been in my mind-- settin' to gellin'! I had been thinking about Laddee a lot before Sandy's call and when I told her we were thinking similar thoughts, she set me straight---Laddee is the one sending these thoughts! OK, I can work with that!
Laddee, the big Belgian mare used to like to threaten people with death if they got close. She lived a life we would only dream of forgetting. But through her life others have learned to live.
So the drawing began. I took out a big sheet of newsprint and vine charcoal to lightly sketch out the form. I had been thinking of how to do this for a long time and the drawing came easy once it was time to put the lines on paper. I tend to draw big and this time was no exception.
The drawing above was the first draft. Then I got to thinking about the rose feature and decided I didn't know how to draw a decent rose, so after some research, I printed out a rose to replace my weak one.
So the bed of roses is more meaningful to me as a way to portray her as a Lady, and one who deserves roses--pink ones at that, since she really was full of love. She just had to experience it from Sandy first.
Now with that in place I am inspired! So much so that I am rethinking the whole design. I think this sketch is a work in itself, but I went on to add another feature.
I have now added an eye clipped out of a magazine. The imagery is gaining momentum in the sense of her story. The rose over her right eye is to symbolize the tumor that was removed from that socket. Her left eye was also blinded but in this image her sight has been restored to reflect her stored strengths on the other side.
I have many ideas of how to proceed with this image.....and it might take several versions in varying styles to satisfy my desire to make it right. It could be an oil, a pastel. I would love to try a watercolor. If I knew what I was doing, a computerized collage could be cool, too. But at this point, I'm still committed to a solid drawing.
I get a lot of ideas from my subconscious before sleep and before I wake up and from what I have been given so far I am inspired to.....get to bed!