Friday, October 08, 2010

Aphrodite, aka Hilary

For the fourth year in a row, I'm participating in Lawndale Art Center's Retablo exhibit. A retablo is a small devotional painting often painted on rectangular sheets of tin. The first year I participated, my offering was specific to the idea of honoring a dead loved one, my gramma Mills. For purely sentimental reasons, it's probably the only piece of work I've done that I really want to buy back. Is it right for the artist to admit this? Probably not.

Basically since last year, I've been thinking about how to incorporate the sheet metal that Lawndale provides for the artists' use in this year's retablo piece. The work evolved up until the last possible minute, with the photo showing the finished result. Good grief, I spent hours working on this, first painting the portrait, thinking, cutting the sheet metal, sanding the sheet metal, sealing the sheet metal, thinking some more, placing and affixing the heart necklace, painting the edge black, attaching the eye hooks and wire on the back, photographing it, more thinking, and finally naming the piece and delivering it to Lawndale.

Almost as soon as I got home, I thought of another, possibly better name for the piece, and am half tempted to go back to Lawndale and try to re-name it, only as Hilary pointed out, I wrote it on the back in Sharpie. But the look in her eyes does bring to mind Botticelli's Birth of Venus (aka Aphrodite), gentle, serene, and lovely.

Of august gold-wreathed and beautiful
Aphrodite I shall sing to whose domain
belong the battlements of all sea-loved
Cyprus where, blown by the moist breath
of Zephyros, she was carried over the
waves of the resounding sea on soft foam.
The gold-filleted Horae happily welcomed
her and clothed her with heavenly raiment.

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