Mary Magdalene as Melancholy (pictured above and below on left) is the personification of melancholia and believed to be a self portrait of the artist, Artemisia Gentileschi. This work is a copy Gentileschi made of her previous painting, Penitent Magdalene, (pictured below on right) which resides at the Seville Cathedral in Spain.
Interestingly, x-rays revealed alterations in Penitent Magdalene in both the face and the widening of the cloth covering the subject's shoulder, probably because the original appearance was considered too risqué for the church. Looking at these two works side by side, it's easy to see the concealment of the bosom and the lack of vibrancy in the later work -- but what I find most striking are the differing gazes.
The Penitent Magdalene castes a pensive downward gaze, suggestive of guilt and shame, and an unawareness that she is being looked upon, whereas Mary Magdalene as Melancholy holds a melancholic, yet direct gaze (detail of gaze pictured below) making us the viewers very much aware that she knows we are looking upon her.
Gentileschi is a tremendous Italian Baroque painter, whose incredible work has been largely unsung owing to sexism in the art world. The injustice doesn't begin there. As a teenager she was raped by her painting mentor. He went unpunished, while she was tortured with thumbscrews during the trial to see if she was being truthful. And her "reputation" was "ruined".
When viewing Gentileschi's work we are fortunate to have a window into a 17th century female perspective - Amazing! In Mary Magdalene as Melancholy, one can't help seeing the hurt and anger and fire behind her gaze. These subtle changes between the two works speak volumes about the oppression of women and importance of women telling their own stories.
Having said all this, I really want to express the joy I felt running into Artemisia Gentilesch, at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City! Gentileschi's work seems to be gaining more recognition as of the 2010's. She's a bad-ass feminist, and an artist well worth knowing, if you don't already.
There are both challenges and rewards to working outdoors. The greatest reward is simply putting myself in the way of beauty. Some of the challenges are wind, sudden downpours, wet canvases falling in the dirt, bugs flying into and "joining" the painting, and 90 or 100 degree summer afternoons. The challenges lessen as I perfect my own approach to painting outside.
One of my biggest challenges used to be hauling all of my supplies to a painting sight. I've meticulously whittled down what I bring to the bare essentials. Here's my list:
1. Soltek Easel
2. Richeson Grey Matters Paper Palette 12 x 16 + Sticky Tac
Tip: Leave the palette pad at home. Instead, roll a few sheets in your paper towel roll for transport and attach to Soltek palette with sticky tac. This makes for fast clean up.
3. Bungee Cord + Viva Paper Towels
4. Waste Bag + Bulldog Clip
5. Guerrilla Painter Stainless Steele Brush Washer (leakproof)
6. Atlas Gardening Gloves (keeps hands clean)
7. Limited selection of brushes and palette knifes
8. Limited selection of oil paints 37ml
9. Guerrilla Painter Shadebuddy Umbrella
10. Hat + Apron
11. Canvas Carrier + Canvases
12. Skip Hop Signature Duo Diaper Bag
Tip: use stroller straps to attach bag to easel
13. Picture Perfect 3 in 1 Plus View Finder
14. Sun Screen + bug spray
15. Wet Wipes
17. Thinksport Insulated Sports Bottle (2) 500ml
Tip: fits into Skip Hop side bottle pockets.
18. Emergency kit in car
I'm fortunate to have a Steller's Jay nesting about six feet off of the ground in a camellia bush. I can't see in the nest, but if I hold my arm up over my head, I can snap pictures of inside the nest with my iphone. I've been excitedly following the progress of the mama bird and her nestlings. She usually pops out of the nest in the late afternoon to look for food, which sometimes provides me a small window of time to carefully visit the nest and photograph the changes.
The nestlings are much more aware now and I need to be careful not to get in their way. I also do not want to be caught by mama - as of yesterday, the babies squawk at my arrival. Mama bird has been very tolerant of me and my curiosity so far. It's truly a pleasure to watch the progress of her nest!
Post edit: Shortly after this post, the babies left the nest. Apparently, they leave before then can fly. I'm going to miss them!
I'm quite possibly one of the most inefficient plein air painters, but nonetheless, I enjoy to take my easel, and A LOT of other stuff, outdoors to paint!
There are plenty of challenges to painting outside, perhaps the most frustrating is the wind. The breeze provides relief from the heat of the day, but also, sudden wind can flip your wet painting face down onto the ground. I've spent a fair amount of time picking bugs and grass off of my paintings. C'est la vie!
Here are some of my recent paintings done in the great outdoors, under the hot, hot, hot sun.
I painted this view from the gardens at Truett Hurst. Oil on canvas. 11x14 inch.
Spice Market -- Istanbul | Frieze -- Copanhagen | Me -- Istanbul
Bicycles -- Copenhagen | Tile in Mosque -- Istanbul | Reindeer -- Inari (Finland)
It's official, we've left the big, beautiful and busy city of San Francisco for a more relaxed and rural life up north. We're all settled in to our new maison which is buried deep in the country, outside of Healdsburg, California.
We're loving every moment of everyday and I'm looking forward to sharing about our adventures and wildlife encounters!
Pictured left: Roux has his first sighting of a bird (house finch) that really, really wanted to fly though our window late at night! This is the closest that Roux has ever been to a bird! We (humans) are not the only ones excited about all of the wildlife surrounding us!
Hello friends! I am back from my adventure and wanted to share with you some pictures from my journey. Enjoy!
I am away on an adventure where 'my' modern technology = a postcard + stamp. That's right, you won't find me around here, but rather eating pain au chocolat, exchanging 'bonjours!' and soaking in the Provençal way of life in <insert announcement trumpeting> France! Should you need to contact me, please send correspondence via email and I will do my best to promptly respond to your message upon my return in mid October. À bientôt!
♥ Miss Bojambo
In the meantime, might I recommend enjoying Peter Mayle's, A Year in Provence. C'est fantastique!
I created this space to showcase my past work, chronicle my current projects, and share my inspiration.