The Golden Sigil ~ inspiration

I had a breakthrough with my health. Things are looking up and I am back to creating art. I’ve been reading books about my beloved Pre- Raphaelites again as a distraction. For my birthday, Mikael got me, Rossetti: Painter and Poet, by J.B. Bullen.
It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve done anything artistic. Between the stress of being sick, buying a house, and moving, I haven’t felt like creating anything. It can be especially difficult to create when you feel paralyzed with fear.
To break myself out of this stasis, I turned to one of my dependable art tricks: take a painting you love and reinterpret it. This time I chose, “Bocca Baciata,” by Rossetti. I especially wanted to capture a feeling of the turned head, distant eyes, and voluminous hair. At first I gave her peonies in her hair, but the Autumnal/Old Summer color scheme of Rossetti’s painting didn’t fit with the blossoms. So, I switched out flowers for turkey tail mushrooms. At that point I realized that I loved the idea enough to not just make a pencil drawing, but to turn it into a painting- quite possibly using egg tempera.

The initial drawing~ “The Golden Sigil.”

The next step was to make a sketch (as opposed to a drawing) with the new information I wanted to convey. I figured out hand position and placement, motifs, and color map. 

Rossetti’s magnificent, “Bocca Baciata.” 

I also had to make a Value Map. This was especially important because in “Bocca Baciata” Rossetti’s model, Fanny Cornforth is blonde against a dark background. Since the woman in my painting is brunette, I have to make a decision. Do I want to paint a dark background, which when combined with dark hair will cause the milky face to advance- or do I want a mid value background which will showcase the voluminous dark hair, as well as the pale face? I sketched a mid value bg, but I’m still undecided. Luckily, I can start painting a mid background and change it to a dark background easily. 

And that wraps up the initial planning stage. Even though I tend to be struck with inspiration and “see” a painting, I still like to map out my ideas in detail. It’s very easy for me to get so wrapped up in one part of the painting that I forget to leave room for something I really needed to start painting earlier in the process.
My next steps are-
make a larger finished drawing
scan it and make a Color Key in photoshop
print a copy and transfer it to my background
paint it. (so easy to type, but so many hours to do)

I am fascinated by the creative process. I read everything I can on how my favorite artists made art. Mostly, I keep this blog (too infrequently for any kind of audience) to remind myself of the steps that I all too often forget in my impatience to get “something” done.




5 Comments Add yours

  1. i love your sketches! I am just learning how to draw because I find it helps me plan out my crochet designs – i like to make crochet clothes – and i have so much trouble with hands. i wish i could show you a picture! this inspires me to show my drawing the other day – I was very lonely, I don’t have any friends and I’ve been watching that anime, Sailor Moon, falling in love with the friendship. I drew Sailor Pluto, because I was lonely, and it was strangely comforting. I don’t mean to take up too much of your time, but you can’t rush art – and you are an artist!

    1. Thank you so much! Drawing is definitely solitary (like writing), but I enjoy the time to myself. It helps to organize my thoughts.
      I love Sailor Moon! And yes, the friendships are so sweet in the series. Are you watching the new series or the original?
      As for drawing hands, decades ago, when I was a teen, my brother’s friend recommended drawing books by Burne Hogarth. I tracked them all down and they absolutely changed my life, especially his book on hands-
      he breaks down how to draw in a way that really clicked for me.

      1. Ohhh! Wow that information means more than you know! I inherited “The Art of Drawing The Human Body” and a sewing machine, so I’d like to try. I think it will also help with my creative writing – i do miss pretend. Pretending about characters and imagining them. Making believable characters! Your sketches on the hands were so pretty and btw I thought that painting was worth over $800 at LEAST. The one with the wings? Beautiful. I actually get a lot of my crochet inspiration from rococo and medieval stuff – my new collection is Unicorn Cavalry!! lol.
        and i’m watching the Crystal version, & i’ve heard lots of negative about it from nostalgic fans – i never saw it when i was younger. Season 3 will have the original writer! You should just watch Season 3 again.

  2. What well developed step for preparing an idea for a painting. Will you include a story? I make illustrations of my character(s) and then try coloring the image in with crayon and colored pencil. I like to take my own background, and with my love of childhood cartooning, create a story along with a set of faces I use later when carving a face with clay that air dries, or use paper mache. Carnival – circus is a good set to decide how to costume my work – pole puppets or dolls for children. My cousin was a puppeteer out of Chicago IL USA 1940-60’s. Thank you for sharing the steps in working out a painting. Mrs. Arthur L Keith (Annette)

    1. This particular drawing/painting isn’t really a story. She’s expressing a particular theme which is pretty common in my art- new life from death. I blame my love of mythology and having a Spring birthday. It’s impossible to ignore the change of seasons when you’re eagerly waiting for your birthday!
      You create puppets? That’s amazing! Do you have a blog?

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