The Muse…a little about how it came about…

Hi All!

My fervent wish is that everyone remains healthy and virus free!  Treat yourself and others with utmost respect.

This entry relates briefly the process I went through to bring “The Muse” to reality.

First, she’s large.  I wanted to created something distinctly not created inside a computer.  Which is easy enough to do, actually.  Paint spontaneously on a large canvas in oil paint.  But right now, I have to work on paper.

The origin of this piece was a moment in one of the Clashing Titans movies. Filed that image away. Then something Steve Pressfield wrote in The War of Art, about the Muse landing on your shoulder after you’ve left the glow of the (communal, tribal) campfire. And I thought, nice metaphor for the writer, but what is this Muse to the visual artist? What is the VISUAL metaphor.  A life size butterfly? Gross. It’s a bug! No, one’s Muse would take a form relevant to your unique experience. So maybe a butterfly anyway, but maybe more traditional, like Tinkerbell, a fairy.  Or something else. And then I thought, how would you know this was not your Guardian Angel?  Or for that matter, your Angel of Death? SO, there is deliberate ambiguity.

From these ideas a stick figure drawing, barely more, just to get it out of my head.  Then some time later a detailed pencil drawing worked up, over many hours, in a proper sketch book. (There was no model, just my imagination and reference works).   I was intrigued that in searching Google Images there wasn’t already an image as I was imagining. 

Next then a very large full scale drawing was carefully laid down in pencil on the water colour paper.  The wings were designed later and then penciled in and then inked over.  The Muse’s body is deliberately rendered in pencil only.  At that point it was pretty good, but not finished.  The wings were next coloured with ink and water colour.  And then to have the Muse appear to be landing, emerging from the picture plane, the stairs were put in.  (I have some training in old-school architectural drafting and design.)  The stairs give lighting reference and perspective, and then the whole thing was carefully masked, which took more than a day.  I had no idea if the background would turn out, I just dove in with pots of paint and big brushes and other stuff.  The Muse is not emerging from a starry night sky, but from chaos.  After a few touch ups it was done.

There you have it.  Sean.