"But if I lose you, what have I left to hope for? Why continue on life's pilgrimage, for which I have no support but you, and none in you save the knowledge that you are alive, now that I am forbidden all other pleasures in you and denied even the joy of your presence which from time to time could restore me to myself?" ~ in a letter from Heloise to Abelard.

Although Heloise was in love with Abelard, he was not as taken with her and the relationship was much more like a friendship for him. ~1101-1164 approximately.

"Lady Caterina", mixed media

“Lady Caterina”, mixed media. The background includes collage and then layers upon layers of spray inks, glazing, stamping, doodling, and more glazing. I am pleased with the way she turned out and the discoveries I made along the way.

There is very little shading on the face because I was trying to imitate the style of artists long ago.

“Lady Caterina” is an example of the ways the subconscious can play tricks on an artist.

For this assignment, I wanted to paint a young African woman wearing a head-wrap or dhuku.

However, once I started the initial sketch, the lines suggested something quite different, and I decided to let the art lead me wherever it wanted to take me. A woman from Medieval times appeared.

It must have been the Borgias’ fault, a series we have been watching on Netflix for the past few weeks.

From the beginning, Lady Caterina had a very odd smirk on her face, and I thought she must be reading something naughty, something like modern day Fifty Shades of Grey. Again, let me repeat, I blame those steamy scenes on the Borgias.

What literature of love could I remember from the Middle Ages? I thought of Abelard and Heloise. Their letters to each other are rather tame.

I wondered if racy books were available to the more genteel classes back in Medieval times? Yup, that’s how my mind wandered while I painted this lady.

A little research revealed that the “fabliaux” were short stories which were considered very naughty for those times, and, you might be shocked, (or not) to find out that they have much in common with Fifty Shades of Grey.

The lady kept her smirk to the end. I think she is finding her book very…stimulating.

I have painted other fantasy type portraits.  Change is in the air is a blog post about transformation while Letting Troubles Float Away shows the use once again of mixed media.

2 Responses

  • Love what you have created here Louise, and also how your imagination runs riot. One benefit you have to add to your words is that you were/are an English teacher who is extremely well read. No way would I even know where to start to look ????

    • In some ways the teaching years helped. I had students research famous lovers/couples in history for the unit on Romeo and Juliet and then we would have a discussion about different ways that couples were kept apart, i.e. parents, politics, religion, etc.. That is the part of teaching I loved. I remembered the story of Abelard and Heloise. However, putting all the ideas together for each post is just a challenge that I enjoy. Thanks for leaving a comment, as always! Stay safe in the heat…we are hearing about it in the news….

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