Painted over a period of 12 to 18 months The Madonna came to life from a spontaneous vision and impulse. An impulse that came while cleaning the polished floorboards in the living room. Which is not surprising as I find cleaning to be very meditative. It calms my mind and reminds me of the famous line from the movie, Karate Kid ”wax on, wax off”.
In order to bring my vision to life I found inspiration in Michelangelo’s beautiful and famous statue, ‘The Pietà’ 1498 – 1499 .
Luckily I had a blank canvas on hand so I could spontaneously sketched her close up detail straight to the canvas. By starting in tonal values to find her form I worked in loose underpainting. The process enabled me to quickly capture her essence and composition. Working in oils to find a sketch is a such freeing process due to the ease of being able to blend the oils to find shapes and tones.
Working on this piece felt was very meditative as I reflected on all that the Madonna embodies. I reflected on what her vision inspired in my own heart. For millions around world the image of the Madonna has come to symbolise faith and purity. Inspiring hope and a belief in something greater than us. Images of the Madonna are treasured as devotional works often placed over prayer or meditation altars.
As this piece was unplanned and came from an intuitive nudge to develop, I drew great inspiration from reading about the artist behind the work I was inspired to reference. I had received photos of Michelangelo’s Pieta statue from a friend for my Italy vision board while I preparing for my planned trip in 2019.
A trip that was going to allow me to go gallery and museum hopping. This was a trip I had dreamt about since buying a copy of a book on the Life and work of Michelangelo. Having the opportunity to see Michelangelo’s artworks in person was so inspiring, especially the beautiful ‘The Pieta’ It is hard to put it into words the feeling of seeing work I had admired from afar. Especially while standing in St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City. It was a surreal and breathtaking experience.
Feeling motivated and deeply inspired to stretch as an artist, I was able to add more depth to my own work in progress of the Madonna upon returning home. By adding a series of glazes into the base of layers. I poured over my photo album from my time away and drew on the memories of artworks that took my breath away.
For this reason I love the glazing technique as it brings a depth and illuminous quality to an art piece. It is so deeply rewarding to watch a painting come alive with each new layer. It is definitely one of my favourite techniques. Patience is the key while waiting for the layers to dry, but it is so worth it.
Choosing colours for this piece was easy, I started with my favourites of ultramarine blue and burnt umber and allowed myself to be guided as the piece developed. In total, I used eight colours, these were ultramarine blue, burnt umber, yellow ochre, white, light red, purple lake, burnt sienna and violet dioxazine.
These colours seemed to naturally fit together to bring a feeling of balance in colour and tones. For the Madonna painting, the end result was also intensity to the beautiful hues that defined the folds in her robes. Infusing an illuminous quality to her presence while retaining resemblance to the statue form, which guided the heart of the piece, Michelangelo’s Pietà.
I have been so inspired and encouraged reading and studying the life and works of the Renaissance Artists. Finding motivation learning about their work practices and their dedication to capturing the beauty of their visions. Painting The Madonna was my opportunity to capture the qualities of unconditional love, grace, beauty and serenity.
If you would know more about The Madonna or you would like to bring her into your home, please feel free to contact me or venture over to the Gallery – Shop for more details.