Monday, October 27, 2014

Artist and Muse.....

Muse: a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.

That is the dictionary's definition of a muse. 

Throughout time there have been many famous artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Amadeo Modigliani, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and even Andrew Wyeth, who have made history with their muses.  The most famous of muse and artist collaborations are probably the ones we read about that involve a romantic, or sexual involvement, because those are the hot blooded, fiery exchanges we all love to believe in, or fantasize about.  

I believe that every artist has many muses throughout the course of their career. be they male or female.  Being a female artist, my muses are also usually female.  I don't paint men, but I am influenced by them, and they may be a source of inspiration, that I then incorporate into my paintings of women. 

"Icing Tips", (Amy cropped)

I often ask for advice, or suggestions from the men in my life, and a painting coming to fruition sometimes comes not from anything tangible, but from something deep that inspires me. And if I am extremely lucky that inspiration will manifest itself through my use of paint on canvas, into a successful painting.

"Dia de los Muertos", (Harmony cropped)

I would even say that my dad was my muse for my "Dia de los Muertos" painting, because although my "physical" muse was my model Harmony, my dad's life (and death) was my inspiration for the painting.  Harmony was able to personify the feeling into something meaningful that I could paint.

I feel each portrait or figure I paint is a self portrait of sorts, and I have been greatly influenced by my female models, and their effect on me.  Each model brings something different to a photo shoot, and how they personally interpret my ideas.  It is really incredible to work with the same model over the course of a few years, where we create a bond, and settle into an ease of working together, and become a team.  I try to evoke the feeling out of my model, so she will look how I feel, or how I imagine, and want my painting to make people who view the painting to feel.

"When You Read My Mind", (Harmony cropped)

A model does not always become a muse, but the few that I have felt were my muse, become much more to me than just a model.  My first muse was my daughter, Leah, whom I have painted at least 20 times.  Painting Leah drew my first attention from galleries, who were interested in my figurative work, and secured me a spot in my first gallery in San Francisco.  Painting Harmony has enhanced my career, and Amy is now becoming my current muse, as I am painting my third painting of her as I write this.

When I was painting my daughter, (which I plan to do again soon) I would look for the moment when she was unaware of her expression, when her "guard" was down, and I could feel a deeper connection to her, and that is what I would photograph and paint.

"If Only", (Leah cropped)

Some of my work is light and humorous, but my favorite paintings are the ones where I can feel some emotion by looking at my model/muse's face.  When I look at one of my paintings, it takes me back to what was happening in my life when the piece was painted, and the emotions I was feeling at the time....kind of like seeing an old photograph....


Maria Rose said...

How do these women feel about being your muse? Do they view your works as a collaborative effort?

Suzy said...

I really think they do view it as a collaborative effort! My best models work really hard to help me get what I am looking for, and they even offer their ideas, which helps a lot. I always have a pretty good plan of what I will shoot, but if the model has a better idea, or pose, I am always good to "go with the flow".