Saturday, March 31, 2012
This painting is a result of my attempt at recreating John Everett Millais's "Ophelia" painting from 1851. My recent interest in the Pre-Raphaelite art has lead me to the creation of this painting. My attraction to the original "Ophelia" painting goes back to my college years when I first studied it. I am fascinated by the original model for the painting named Elizabeth Siddall. She was a well-known model/muse to the Pre-Raphaelite artists and herself an accomplished artist at a time when there were so few female artists. Her life ended tragically early from an illness she obtained after posing for Millais's painting where he had her laying in cold water in order to get the realistic effects for the painting. The Pre-Raphaelite artists were known for their sharp detail, realism, and vivid colors and Millais was known for going to extreme measures in order to capture the desired effect.
For "Ophelia Reemerging", the subject goes beyond realism. She is an Earth Mother rebirthing after a long nap. She is in between worlds emerging from the past floating down the stream of consciousness into the future when the garden is in full bloom and time is momentarily suspended. Her feminine vulnerability is exposed in her open arms yet she grasps the fragile flowers in her hand expressing an inner passion and strength. My experience painting this was like slipping into another reality where time and space briefly collapsed into a sensual experience of pure stream of consciousness through color and form.