Hello! As a Shimer student who has been blogging for three years now, I like to imagine that I have some sort of following out in the real world (hi, mom!). It is this idea that allows me to believe that some of you are just dying to hear whether or not I have continued painting after the class ended.
Fear not! I am a painter for life now. Amanda Cadogan, painting instructor extraordinaire, has converted me. Now, I have not gained too much skill or patience since you last saw my still life, but I am still going at the canvas with vigor.
I have two projects going on simultaneously right now. Both are replications of famous paintings. One of them is tip-top secret as it is a present for a dear friend of mine, but the other I am very excited to share with you. A lot still needs to be done on it, but I have made good progress.
The original painting is by Judith Leyster. She was a well-known, oft-commissioned Dutch painter in the early to mid-1600s. I wrote a research paper on her, and other famous classical female painters, towards the end of our Oil Painting class and fell in love with her painting The Proposition.
My copy of it is really a detail, I have chosen to zoom in on the subjects and cut out the surrounding area, but my painting is actually several inches larger than hers.
From the wikipedia article about Leyster, "She signed her works Judita Leystar, often as a monogram with her initials JL with a star attached. This was a play on words; "Lei-star" meant "Lead star" in Dutch, which was the common name for the North star used at the time by Dutch mariners. Leyster was particularly innovative in her domestic genre scenes. In them, she creates quiet scenes of women at home, which were not a popular theme in Holland until the 1650s."
In my replication, I still need to finish both faces, give both of them fingers, and paint the gold coins in his right hand.
The reason I found this painting so interesting was the subject matter. Leyster was pointing out that many men in her time were propositioning women who were not prostitutes for sex. Leyster depicts this woman as sitting in the light of the candle, holding a thread (possibly embroidering), and ignoring the man while he attempts to pay her. He is standing in shadow and laying a hand on her arm possessively as he leans in over her. (Hopefully my painting is decent enough that these things are apparent.)
The part I am most proud of is the woman's shirt. It is also the portion that I spent, by far, the longest on. It was also painted under Amanda's watchful eye. One day I really believe that I will be able to paint something beautiful without needing her to hold my brush.
That's not for a while yet though. So, I will continue working on this, and my super secret painting, and all of you will be able to say "I knew her before she was famous." (Ha!)
Until next time!