Sunday, February 15, 2009

Poseidon - Portrait #2 - Getting Started

Poseidon - 18 x 24 - oil on panel (top image)
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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say he looks angry, more so sad. That's probably more appropriate, though. I would think it would sadden the gods that we've abused the earth and her resources so much. They were (are?) the very embodiment of nature.

Nice job! You really are quite talented.