At last: I discovered my regular model is Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity. In Indian art she is often depicted as a golden-coloured woman; elegantly dressed and prosperity-showering. She also is associated with lotus flowers, so I made an arcade of styled lotus petals. I turned them into representational abstractions like the ones I saw in indian drawings and paintings. Colors are strong on purpose such as in indian art. I harmonized colors a bit more though in style with western tradition.
Some time ago with my model I discussed some new ways I wanted to explore. For no particular reason we both thought of Klimt and especially his oil of Judith and the head of Holofernes. The initial goal was to capture some kind of sensual glance. However it should not become a sleazy one like you see in so many so-called romantic art mishaps. In my eyes eroticism and sensuality without a context only becomes kitsch, employed as cheap effects.
There is one tragic event an artist can be faced with. It is to have an inspirational source in mind and not be able to get rid of it. Try as you might to do something else, you only associate your work with the original idea. Of course the latter’s glory is not yours to cash in. The idea of Lakshmi came after some reconsiderations at the very end of this pastel. I had something classic in my mind, like Klimt must have had. Falling back on classic themes was such a drag and the days of salon art are long gone now.
Late in the evening I searched for something feminine, mythical and divine, linked to ‘India’. Of course I thought this would deliver me 1000+ hits and so it did. The first one hit the jackpot already and I knew her vaguely: Lakshmi. Everything fell into place: the gold, lotus’ purple and pinks and the green hues already present in her skin. Finally my link to Klimt made sense. I kept the hatched strokes in the style as employed in a previous pastel ‘Golden – 27-01-21’. They look a bit like Klimt’s brushy strokes in aforementioned painting. The Lotus petals and leaves I rubbed out to a smooth surface and I drew some golden contour lines. The result is rather ornamental just as the old master’s but with distinct differences. I do not worry stealing from the great. Klimt stole from my fellow countryman Jan Toorop. Tit for tat!
Pastel drawing on Clairfontaine Pastel Mat paper (69.4 x 49.8 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers
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