After visiting the Tate gallery in London and seeing the fantastic painting 'Titania and Bottom' (One of two paintings based on 'midsummer nights dream' by William Shakespeare) by John Henry Fuseli it made me want to try oil painting due to it's epic power it seems to emulate, it's not just a scene from the play it adds to it, gives it life. On the way home from London i found myself doodling in my sketch book my head filled with thoughts of Greek myths and renaissance paintings. I drew a few sketches of a reinterpretation of the Greek god Cupid, associated with desire, affection and erotic love. I was thinking about what these mythological creatures would look like if we did not have the references of paintings that we associate these characters with. In the end i came up with the idea of a youthful, child like creature wrapped in a red blanket in a classical manner and instead of the typical bow and arrow i decided this Cupid would drop spheres of Gold onto the mortals bellow (from his godly plain) the colour gold, because i believe the metal and the colour is associated with great value and has a spiritual nature which could be said of some aspects of love.
During the painting of Cupid i was inspired by so many different eras of art, i hope some of my inspiration is visible as i believe it adds to the layers and history of a painting, as i feel that in a way i wasn't just painting an image i was trying to create a whole narrative within it, as those are the kind of paintings i enjoy the most.
I began looking at the works of Leonora Carrington, the Surrealist artist which i find absolutely wonderful! I was shocked to find how little is known of her in Britain, in many ways i think she achieved much more than many of the other well known surrealists. Her interest in alchemy is very clear in her work, some appear more as a spell in painting that just a narrative.
The painting "Green Tea" by Leonora Carrington is what inspired me to add a maze like garden behind the character of Cupid, it adds much more depth to the image, in which you can hide other smaller narratives.
When visiting galleries in London i was awestruck at the absolute power of the colour of the renaissance paintings particularly those by Raphael, i was very aware at this point that i also wanted to create such colour when working on cupid. To do this i looked at the ways that Raphael achieved such beauty, his well planned pyramid structure is placed in several places to achieve such esthetically pleasing layout, also his use of subtle contrasting colours helps make the colours so vivid. The big blocks of colour i found helped break up the image so to make it clear and easy on the eye.
Raphael often uses arches to frame images, this is seen in his painting "The school of Athens". In my illustrations i always feel more comfortable when they have a thin black lined border to frame the image, i felt that i also needed to do this for my painting of Cupid, i decided to use the idea of the archway to do this, also to add a mystery of not being able to see all of the image.
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