Process – Study for Limerance

In my color class I was given the assignment to create a piece of art using only one or two colors based off of a photo of some kind. I won’t go into what my color class entailed, but let’s just say this wasn’t the kind of assignment I expected to do in a color class. (Whatever happened to doing serious color charts people?) Anyway, I decided to go with a scene from Giorgio Moroder’s version of the movie Metropolis. There’s one scene in the movie where the female villain (Hel) is dancing in front of an audience of men. Here is the image:

By the way if you haven’t seen Metropolis, PLEASE go do yourself a favor and watch it. It is definitely in my top 3 favorite movie list. So I really liked the vibrant color in the still and thought that using black paint and alizarin crimson would do the trick in replicating it to some degree. I thought that doing an oil painting would be a good idea, especially since there was a show coming up and I figured I could kill 2 birds with one stone and submit my piece to the show when I finished.I had this idea floating around in my head for a while of a woman coming out of the background with a sort of floral arrangement all around her and I decided that I would try to explore that idea with this assignment, hence this being a study for perhaps a future drawing. Continuing to look for more inspirations, I also decided to use Ingres’ The Vow of Louis xiii, also pictured below:

I decided that I wanted the main figure to be strong and dominant. In the movie, Hel is somewhat like Kali, a bringer of destruction aimed at destroying mankind and society. I decided I would incorporate that idea as well as making her appear over a dead body in symbolism of that. In this picture, the young Christ child would no longer be salvation but doom. Now unfortunately I don’t know of any men who would be willing to pose for me in the nude as a dead man (haha!) But that was okay, because I remembered that I could gain inspiration from the dead men scattered in the painting The Raft of the Medusa. (Let me tell you kids, art history really does help you!) I hoped that there was at least one sketch of the dead man almost falling off the raft and to my luck that was the only preliminary drawing I could find of the painting! (That pic is a few down.)
There’s nothing wrong about letting the old masters help you!So now it came down to combining everything. I slowly worked on the drawing in-class but never finished the whole thing. Although I understand the idea of wanting students to stay in a studio class and work for 3 hours- I get stuff done so much faster at home. Plus I don’t always feel comfortable with others watching me work. After I had done about half the sketch I started transferring it to the canvas just by eye. I had prepared a thick amount of gesso and applied it with a roller so it was extra smooth and good for drawing on. I used a charcoal pencil (don’t use pencil under oil paint, in time it will show through) and then afterwards I sprayfixed the charcoal so that it wouldn’t rub away or into my paint.
So here is my preliminary sketching on the right and canvas on the left. Sorry for the blurry pic: For some parts like the dead man, I drew on the paper still just to make sure it looked good before I did it on the canvas. I changed various parts of him so that he would fit in with my picture better.






And all done! On to the painting.

I had about 2 weeks to do this painting along with work for all my other classes. I rushed through it, staying up until 3 or 4am some nights. I made a lot of mistakes, but I was really aiming to get it done by the deadline. The hardest part was finishing it before the paint dried. I would blend the top layers into the background and if the background dried then I was rather out of luck. I went section by section…

Do you like my taboret? Haha! I have a new one now, no need to use that car cover box anymore.




Towards the end I ran out of time and literally threw paint on to the left side of the canvas.


That’s it!

And ta-da! The completed picture. Sadly I didn’t get my painting into the show, probably because the paint was still wet when I submitted it and they said that wet paint was not allowed. (You still have to try, right?) But it went into another show this past semester, so all was not lost! I really enjoy it even though I wish I hadn’t needed to do a rush job. Finis!