What’s Inspiring My Art

On April 3, 2015 by admin

What is inspiring my art and what am I working on – I’ve been working on several art pieces since last summer that incorporate actual hair with acrylic painting. I had been reading about the gene mutation for red hair and wanted to do a project about the history of red hair  and the MC1R gene mutation in humans which evolved into a desire to incorporate real hair into the art somehow. Real hair represents the transmission of genes in humans. I wondered if there would be anyone else who shared my fascination with depictions of redheads or perhaps I was just indulging in some artistic navel gazing (I am a redhead) and decided not to focus on redheads in particular. Perhaps I’ll return to the subject in the future.

There are a lot of depictions of hair in art history. Consider Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”, she of the long, flowing tresses.

Birth Of Venus By Sandro Botticelli

Birth Of Venus By Sandro Botticelli

I edited the image to single out the female figure at the side of Venus. Using modelling paste on primed board, I gradually built up a low relief of the woman in profile.

Side figure from Birth Of Venus By Sandro Botticelli

Side figure from Birth Of Venus By Sandro Botticelli

I did this because applying real hair, with its three dimensions, would make more sense on a three dimensional image. Then I completed the painting with acrylic paint, followed by thte application of the hair. I had to style it to fit the elaborate hairstyle of the model. I applied epoxy to the whole piece. This made the hair darker and gave it a permanent wet look. I wasn’t happy with this result so I redid the hairstyle and re-applied the hair to the project. Now I’m happy with the result, the hair has a realistic appearance and I love the way the epoxy softens the facial features and brush strokes (Possibly through refracting the light? I haven’t done any research on that). Here is the final result.

Assisstant At The Birth Of Venus by Tanya Petruk

Assistant At The Birth Of Venus by Tanya Petruk

For my current project I have continued using real hair. Long an admirer of William Morris, the Pre-Raphaelite movement and anything Art Nouveau, I am almost finished with my update of Jane Morris as Proserpine. It is based on Rossetti’s 1874 painting Proserpine.

Proserpine by Rossetti

Proserpine by Rossetti

The long, onerous process of building up layers of modelling paste has been discarded in favour of carving the low relief of the figure in a sheet of mdf. I’ve edited the image, carved it into the mdf, and sealed it with drywall compound and drywall primer. Then I painted in the image with acrylic paint and added the hair. I will doing some touch ups to the painting and then epoxy it once I am satisfied with the painting. After I apply the epoxy it is permanently unalterable so I want to be certain I’m finished.

UPDATE: I’ve completed the Jane Morris As Proserpine piece. As it is now epoxied it has a high gloss surface and is excruciatingly difficult to photograph well. Therefore, there is a lot of glare in the photo here. It’s very large and heavy, definitely a statement piece! One really needs to see it in person to appreciate the glowing, saturated colours. The background gold curvilinear embellishments are referenced from Gustav Klimt’s Tree Of Life and The Hug and the round floral-like gold embellishments are referenced from an art nouveau wall pattern in The Peacock Room. This piece is available for purchase, if interested in viewing please contact me.

Jane Morris As Proserpine by Tanya Petruk. Woodcarving, acrylic, hair, epoxy (2015)

Jane Morris As Proserpine by Tanya Petruk. Woodcarving, acrylic, hair, epoxy (2015)

 

Comments are closed.