Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Two Virgins

This I think is the artistic version of "you can never step in the same river twice". Each of these is copied from Andrew Wyeth's 'The Virgin', about a year apart. The one on the left is pen and ink, on the right is pencil, but I think that beyond medium there was a great difference in me at the two times in my life.

The one on the right came later and I thought at the time represented an improvement in my technique. Now I like the harder-edged one on the left much more. She's also reminiscent of a bartender I had a crush on, but that never went anywhere.

The Virgin is Siri, who modelled for Wyeth many times. Although he continued to paint Helga sporadically, Siri represented something of moving on for him. In one of his books is a great anecdote about the time of the creation of the original. Siri is posed in a darkened barn with a shaft of sunlight coming down on her. Wyeth recounts that he was friends with a sculptor at the time, and says something like "there he is hacking away at his wooden Indian all day, and noone knows that I've got this beautiful 15-year-old virgin in my barn".