Woman or Worrior? Or The Carrie in all of us

I was taking a look at some pictures last night and I thought I’d take a moment to write a bit about my recent canvass titled “Carrie”. Notice the quotation marks. See, she’s not the real Carrie, but the representation of what she is, that exact moment.

I think it captures something of her, or of the part of us that can identify with her, that moment when you are completely blanked out by flame. I am still considering adding a tiara, but she says she’s done for now.

“Carrie” started as a ruined canvass. It was to be the third in a triptych that I had done in a series of women with blue flowers. The first one is one of my very favourite pieces. The second turned out less so. I had started the third, a woman holding a baby, in pencil with a red dress in cante (charcoal pastels) and an outline.

I didn’t like it, so it sat behind my easel and some other canvasses until I started working with paints over a year later. I don’t have a picture of it (she was too big and garish for me, for some reason, whereas the other two women didn’t take up much of the canvass, but were the central focus).

I had recently done a canvas entitled Diesel. You can see a picture of it here:


It turned out pretty freaking awesome. I had thought this canvass, though recent, was ruined, too (though of course, depending on your taste in art, perhaps it already is ruined. LOL Bit I digress…).

So I picked up the abandoned canvass, that woman and her baby, and erased the baby out of the picture. Even though the pencil lines were eventually covered up with cante, pastel’s and then oil paint, I can still see where the baby is-I know where it used to be. This is not a representation of pregnancy, only that I know the woman in the picture has lost something. I gave her a necklace to symbolize what she had lost, or perhaps where her spiritual centre was. It was a pentagram, but is now only a small circle of gold, but the pencil lines are still there too.

I filled her in with pencil first, reshaping her and worked on the under layer of the canvass with pencil first, cante to give it line and shape and then pastels to give it a bit of texture. She turned out like this:


I let her sit for a bit because I knew she wasn’t done. I wanted to use paint in some way and I was pretty sure what I wanted to paint would turn out quite a bit differently than the canvass I had just done. But I forged ahead anyways. Here’s what she looked like in the beginning of the painting process:


From beginning to end of the refurbed canvass, I’d say three weeks or so, give or take to lay down all the different layers of pencil, cante, pastel and paint.  A year and a bit if you count the time she stood silent, waiting to be finished. Here is what she looked like when she was first done:


And here is what “Carrie” looks like now.


The texture of the paint, cante and pastel are coming through in the body and the hair, the colour’s are deeper now. I like her better now, too. While working on her, I wasn’t sure if she was a woman or a warrior or both. Both, as it turns out.

In the end, it was almost a two year journey with “Carrie”. Hmmm, I wonder which canvass I can rework next?

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