Tuesday, November 24, 2009

White Madonna & Child Niche, Aix-en-Provence

photo © Mona Diane Conner 2008

I've made three drawings in my effort to start a new pastel of a beautiful white Madonna & Child niche statue that I photographed in Aix-en-Provence during my trip to France in 2008. It has taken three tries to decide what part of it I want to include for a large pastel painting. Sorry for an extraneous, uneven tone in my digital shots of my drawings, (strictly practical compositional sketches, rather than artworks themselves), but you can see how I started off wanting to show most of the niche structure at first, and then began to zero in more.

Since I also really like the idea of portraying part of the lamp, as in my photo, I am doing a fourth drawing for a miniature painting of this same scene (which will roll out on my miniature painting blog). My miniature version will include the lamp and give me an opportunity to show the entire structure of the niche that surrounds this statue. But for my pastel I want to dramatically zero in on the Madonna & Child itself, so the drawing at the top of the post shows you how it will be composed.

I had a search to locate a certain color of the pastel surface I wanted, only to get it home and discover that I got the color I want but the surface is defective. As a result, I may try doing this on a darker color than I would have liked just to get it started. With all this preliminary action going on, I'm asking Mary to please support my effort to paint the White Madonna & Child!

I was very charmed while in Aix-en-Provence to discover these niche statues of Mary and other saints which seem to adorn every building corner there, making it one reason that Aix-en-Provence was my favorite spot in Southern France. It's going to be a fun, too, painting more niches like the White Madonna & Child over a period of time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Difference Between Modeling Mary and the Mary Within

Thanks to all of you who visited here and commented on my progress with "The 'Mary' in Kimberly" while I was completing miniature paintings for several competitive shows. I do love painting large just as much as I love my work in miniature! Having given it my all during two key months when many of the miniature show deadlines overlap, it was important to rest and revitalize for a bit, but I've been looking forward to getting rolling again with my portrait series. I have two pastel portraits awaiting completion, and a new piece I'd like to begin, but first, here is an interesting comparison that I hope might stimulate some spiritual discussion:

Detail of my Madonna and Child drawing using Karen as a model

My drawing for a Madonna and Child painting using Karen as a model.

"The 'Mary' in Karen" miniature portrait in egg tempera

The first "Mary" portrait in my series---the one that I began this blog with---was "The 'Mary' in Karen" (above, the only miniature in this series). But as some of you know by now, I also love to paint Mary herself, and it was in that spirit that I used Karen as the model for Mary in the above Madonna and Child drawing, one that I did a while ago, but still plan to use as the basis for a painting.

So I've drawn Karen as Mary, and have also attempted to paint the 'Mary' within Karen, but in my mind, as well as in my creative intent, these are not the same thing. And I wonder, does it come across as I intend? Apart from the fact that in the Madonna and Child drawing I've taken some liberties with Karen's likeness and hair, and given it a Renaissance feeling, do you see and feel the difference between one effort and the other?