From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Universal Mother

with one comment


Today I went back into the mother’s face to make her more universal.  I want her to potentially be anyone’s mother, or at least to have echos of anyone’s mother.  So… source images from more people.

I was already tweaking Krys’ face to make her more like a particular DaVinci sketch for a Maddona which I thought had a very perfect mother-smile; gentle and calm and patient.  I was also making her eyes slightly more Asian.  Still, I wanted to make sure that the Mother was even more universal.  My friend Amada is not a mother, but she is a nurse and has that serene, gentle patient quality. 

Last Thursday I was able to get some images of her holding another friend’s baby.  There was such a huge difference in her face when she was holding the baby as opposed to posing cold!  I don’t know any African-descended women who have young children right now (at least none who live nearby), so I had to resort to the internet for those images.

I found a couple that had the element I wanted, even similar lighting…. but once you get into detail even small differences in lighting are suddenly HUGE issues!  I already altered the lighting on Krys by ooking at another shot with a worse expression but better lighting.  Trying to blend the different faces with different lighting conditions was a challenge.  Eventually I was fiddling too much and had to work on the background and another piece instead.

 The smile I want is an incredibly delicate thing.  I call it the Buddha smile in my mind.  Sublime, barely there, but infinitely tender.  Tricky.

Funny.  I showed my husband the face and he nailed what it was missing in one- a tiny place that should be darker on the right-hand corner of the mouth.  I changed it in Photoshop to see how it would look, and here it is…

I’m looking forward to getting the next layers on.

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Written by marycoreymarch

February 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm

One Response

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  1. That’s looking really great. Love the differences in the face already (though I was very impressed with how much the original was clearly Krys).

    Carolyn

    February 2, 2012 at 9:26 am


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