Portrait from the Academy

Nina

Whilst at the Academy of Fine Art in Florence, I undertook my first ‘site size’ portrait. Having always painted from photographs this is my first portrait done from a live model. It was a first also in that I had to draw with a paintbrush without having sketched her in charcoal onto the canvas first (which is how I normally work). Not only was I surprised at how easy it was, but also how accurately this can be accomplished with only the use of string for measuring, just as they did in the Renaissance era. The resemblance to the model was also uncanny and accurate. Yes I should have had her pose for the photo as per the portrait,…but you can see she was quite pleased.

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The Goddess Returns

Goddess_5

{ TYCHE is the Greek goddess (or spirit) of fortune, chance, providence and fate. She was usually honoured in a more favourable light as Eutykhia, goddess of good fortune, luck, success and prosperity.}

To quote Picasso “there are two types of women, Goddesses and doormats”; I have referenced Tyche as an exemplar to depict my personal current status in the world.
It is therefore both ‘private’ and ‘public’, and has significant relevance to the life drawing class for which this is my proposal of work, and which fits the brief of developing a ‘private and public’ exhibition standard artwork.

As I stand triumphant on my plinth, conquering the doormat, I am imortalised as “the Goddess”, reclaiming my life through art. Like Tyche, I am blindfolded, hence not knowing where I am neccessarily going, but have blind faith in myself for that fact alone.

Alone indeed, my current need for solitude is proven through this large as life self portrait, painstakingly measured for accuracy and scaled up from an A4 photograph of myself in the proposed pose (albeit standing on a Dulux paint tin). The drawing is 2.5 metres tall, drawn with oil pit pencil on 300 gsm water colour paper. When I view it, I appear larger than in life! Perhaps this thing called art, is larger than I anticipated! In a state of continual inner dialogue, I have applied an existential approach to my life through the strong choices I have made and in particular over the period which is (now) growing into middle age.

The picture has been sexualised, as I am naked but for my painting apron (a befitting paradoxical approach to life drawing and domesticity) wearing high heels and earings, (which are a large part of who I am). I wear these ‘things’ which adorn greek coins as a symbol of money being attracted to me through my craft, therefore belief in what I am doing.

I stand defiant with my paint brushes in the stance of ‘liberty’. Finally I have returned!

Note: I acknowledge that this was created during the life drawing second year class, with tutor Chris Orchard from Adelaide Central School of Art.