Susanna and the Elders - Painting #112
6x 6 in. Oil on board 11/18/2016
For my birthday, I ordered some books on Artemisia Gentileschi and with some serendipitous timing I came upon her painting of Susanna and the Elders. The image and idea quite relevant to our times. Two old men secretly observe, then accost and accuse a young woman falsely unless she has sex with them.
I had started a small nude but with the election disintegrating into a nightmare, she slowly transformed into Susanna. The idea that ‘You can do anything…’ to a woman and get away with it, even get elected to the highest office in government, disturbed me. It lit a fire in me to prove otherwise. Or at least give a painted reminder. The men in the story from the Book of Daniel were put to death for their transgressions. No you can't do anything.
It was a stream of consciousness painting. I didn’t go in with a plan but rather let her garden erupt and undulate around her. I found a wonderful website that gives you images of models nude or clothed in a 360-degree angle. Perfect! I thought, since I’ve been wanting to do more figure paintings and it helps to have such a resource at your disposal.
My first instinct was to cut all her hair off as if shorn either in response to the accusations, or as punishment because of them. ‘Confess’.
But then something changed. Once I had all the characters in the play in, I needed them to interact...
It was a cold wind for all of us that I’m hoping will start a fire in woman everywhere.
Please keep each other safe. I’ll keep painting. Deal?