Sunday, July 31, 2011


Ophelia, now there is a name or subject that has been the muse for many an artist. Last Friday we had one of our local Ophelia's pose for us again. A beautiful woman who once toured with the Beachboys as a hula dancer.

I have to admit to being quite self conscious about rendering her breasts with her husband in the room. When I'm studying form no matter what it is I tend to feel it in my mind. Paint a rock or an apple and you become very aware of the texture and shape.

Some of the women in the group pointed out that the male born artists were all focusing on the model's breasts. Which only points out that they were quite aware of them as well. So why not paint them?  Is it because the breasts that fed us a babies have become associated with sex appeal in our culture?

 Maybe men will like this portrait and women will find it as objectifying women as sex objects. Are such portraits to be avoided?

Here's a portrait of the same model from last year. Now I could have just focused on the face on that one as well yet the gown was interesting. Same model radically different looks. Not what you'd call sexy. The top one is the type of image you might see in advertising selling and expensive liquor. Not something you'd associate with fine art.

In art history Ophelia from Shakespeare's Hamlet was a favorite subject of the realists. My favorite of the many renditions was this one by John Everett Millais. I had the pleasure of see this amazing painting may years back at the Tate museum in London. It was absolutely mind boggling.

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