This mixed media work was inspired by the eyes of the model for "Pavonia", an 1859 oil painting by the British artist Frederic Leighton. While the model appears pallid in the original, her eyes convey strength and determination transcending the compliance expected of women at the time. Wondering what she would have looked like had she been painted more vibrantly, I digitally manipulated a photograph of the painting, creating this assemblage around it but maintaining her eyes as the focus. The modified "painting" hangs in a room covered with yellow floral wallpaper, a pea-green carpet and a large mirror that provides a sense of depth and form, making the half-moon table set against it seem round. To the left hangs a necklace segment matching the yellow, green and orange tones found elsewhere.
The yellow floral wallpaper in the background is a nod to the Japanese influence so prevalent in British art and design at the time of the painting. The modified photograph maintains some of the original’s peacock feather fan but otherwise replaces the original background with the wallpaper to make it seem as though the portrait had been painted in that room.
Hanging to the left is a portion of a necklace I designed with semiprecious stones, Murano glass and freshwater pearls, a design that has always reminded me of spring. Orange clay roses appearing in the green vase on the table have been entwined in the necklace along with a few clay irises painted to match the irises in the wallpaper. The green of the feathers in the photograph is repeated in the green vase, the leaves of the flowers and some of the pearls used in the necklace. The feather above the picture is a nod to the peacock feathers in the original work and highlights the model’s dark hair.
A miniature half-moon table up against a mirror creates a false sense of depth and form. The velvet base echoes the green and floral theme throughout and counterbalances the sharp edges in the mirror and frame above it.
Custom framed with museum glass in a sophisticated deep wooden frame in collaboration with Chevy Chase Art Gallery, Washington, DC.
Frame color: Gold
Size (in inches): 12.75 x 9.75 x 4
Though many designs appear simple, each work in fact takes several months to create. The final version is rarely the one initially envisioned; the laws of gravity force numerous adjustments. Execution involves a multitude of skills, some of which are acquired specifically to achieve the desired artistic result. In fact, it took several years of experimenting before I even hit upon a technique for creating assemblages.
The framing process is itself a component of the work, both conceptually and artistically. Though the frame is clean and modern in appearance, the framing process is not as simple as it seems. The determination whether to create a "room" (as with Born Free) or an intimate atmosphere (as with What Price Silence) is in fact part of the artistic process.
Works are custom framed to provide sufficient depth to accomplish my artistic goals as well as to support the weight of the work (often 40-60 pounds). The 4-inch deep decorative wooden frame curves outward to bring the work closer to the viewer.
As many designs are supported by the base as well as the backing, the framing process can be tricky. It took several months of experimentation to determine how to create a work that it was practical to frame. The glass protects the work from damaged caused by dust and dusting.