Poseidon - close up of face (bottom image)
Ever since I read a Newsweek article about Kehinde Wiley, who paints urban black men in classical poses juxtaposed against backgrounds of feminine wallpaper, I've been fascinated by the concept of posing a modern-day person in a classical pose in order to tell a unique story.
Thinking about how to paint people so the paintings are more than just 'portraits', it occurred to me that as a girl I was fascinated with Greek gods and goddesses. In fourth grade I friended the scary and ancient librarian lady, who helped me check out lots of age-appropriate mythological story books. I continued reading them through high school. After that I stopped. I have no idea why. Probably because boys were more interesting.
Allan's read a lot of Greek mythology, so I asked him what Greek god he'd like to be, if I were to paint him. Funny question. I thought he'd pick Juno or Atlas. He didn't hesitate for a second before deciding: Poseidon, god of the sea. Thus, this painting was born, Poseidon it was.
He posed by wrapping up in his blue blanket with a shovel for the trident. I snapped about 50 pictures of him looking fierce and scary and finally got one that captured what he felt a portrait of Poseidon would look like.
Here's the progress thus far. The green underpainting is the Verdaccio. The flesh colors are roughed in, and this is by no means a finished painting. I want the flesh to be, well, real, so I did a lot of practicing with the flesh mixtures. In the background I hope to convey a sense of angry ocean depths, with swirling green and blue colors.
My goal is to create more than a portrait of Allan, aka Poseidon, god of the sea. I like to think maybe it's a portrait about how angry the gods are over how we are polluting the ocean. Or something like that.
I'll let the viewer decide.