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Monday, January 18, 2016

Guadalupe Arenas II

Inside the Creative Process

A portrait of Guadalupe Arenas was started a few weeks ago. Similar in design and composition to Madame Butterfly, this new painting is progressing and I thought I would share a few photos.  This first is the completed Madame Butterfly....

Madame Butterly
40 x 40
Acrylic on Canvas

The portrait of Guadalupe Arenas will have a similar palette and composition to Madame Butterfly, however the design elements will differ. Arenas wove eagles and snakes, as well as lizards into her carefully crafted baskets so those creatures will be represented.

The larger pigment areas of the canvas are applied.

An eagle shape, reminiscent of that used by Arenas, appears.

A darker area toward the bottom of the canvas is added.

Work begins on the snakes.

Additional work on the snakes.

This final photo is how the canvas looks this morning before I pick up the brushes and pigments to begin working again. There is much much more detail to be added that I am carrying around inside my head and appears in the sketches, so check back to watch the progress.

These portraits bring focus and attention to the women who lived in harsh conditions during the late 1800's into the early/mid 1900's, making the transition from traditional tribal life to the European influenced way of life. The beautiful vessels created under the tutelage of their mothers were originally utilitarian in use but became collector items during the Curio Trade in the early 20th Century. Guadalupe Arenas, member of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians,  was one of the basket weavers whose work has become highly prized and is included in private and museum collections.  

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