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Undine, the water nympth

I have an oil painting I had started over a year ago while taking a life painting class with the amazing painter, Chris Zhang at the Lyme Art Association. I was working with oils on a 20" x 30" linen canvas I streached myself, and even though I applied Gesso to the surface, I had trouble getting the oil paint into the canvas. It seamed as it was absorbing the paint. To make things worse, I could only work with that model for one class, so I never finished it.

Since I'm constantly experimenting and trying new things, I decided to take this unfinished painting out of the "closet" and worked on the figure in a way I've never done before. I was going to work on the figure, as traditional painters would do, and I will use mixed media to work on the background, to give it a more contemporary feeling.

I started working on the figure using oil pastels.

The problem was that the posture of the model seamed uncomfortable to me. So I came up with the idea of creating a story around her and made her into a water nymph, Undine! (click on Undine to learn more about the German romance that inspired me)

Then, I glued different textured papers into the background, to add some layering effect and dimension. I divided the background into her two worlds: water and earth...

I then did some image transferring to tell her story:

*The image on the top right, is a transfer from a copy of John William Waterhouse's representation of the French Undine, circa 1872. He portrays Undine as she comes out of the water...

*The image in the top center, is from a photograph of my grandparents, the day of their wedding in the 1940's. I added a frame to it, to recreate the era.

*The image on the bottom left is from a vintage postcard I received during a paper swap! There are also images from stamps and letter writings.

Later on, I applied Shellac to Waterhouse's Undine, in order to make the transferred a little bit more translucent. Started adding watercolor and oil crayon to the paper collage in the background, while continuing on my drawing of the main figure.

The grasses on the bottom right were bothering me, so I started adding oil pastels to make them blend more with the background...

I'm almost done with this mixed media painting. I will finish it tomorrow and post the last picture as soon as I can...

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