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Mary: Unfinished

“Mary: Unfinished.” Acrylic on Gessobord, 8×10″.

The picture is unfinished. I still need to rework the dark side of her face. UPDATE 4/7: I’ve now corrected and finished the dark half of her face. But “Mary: Unfinished” is still the title.

(Here’s the originally posted version for comparison. The new one is more correct; I find the earlier version more interesting, though.)

My original concept was an impoverished, weary, disappointed Mary (yes, perhaps that Mary). The backstory is that a more prosperous, light-hearted friend has tried to cheer her up by loaning her a bright, beaded collar and letting her see her reflection in a mirror. But the reflection and the finery only make her bitter life seem harder, her aging face less beautiful.

You can still see the red edge of the beaded collar, which I otherwise painted over. With or without collar, here she is, an unfinished piece of art and an unfinished woman.

This one sprang from my head. But it was inspired by this El Greco, this photo, and Rouault’s “Old King”.

12 Comments

  1. StevefromMA
    StevefromMA April 6, 2017 4:41 pm

    That is pretty cool, Claire, and I do like the colors there. Looks like art to me.

    And Mary, interesting.

  2. larryarnold
    larryarnold April 6, 2017 5:14 pm

    I like the backlighting, looking into the dark effect.

  3. AG
    AG April 6, 2017 6:06 pm

    I know that look. :/

  4. Joel
    Joel April 7, 2017 6:25 am

    In studying the Bible years ago, I was always struck by the irony that the Book of Job was supposed to be an inspirational tale, rather than a cautionary one. My moral to the story would have been “Stay away from that God character, he’s got no concern for feelings.”

  5. Claire
    Claire April 7, 2017 8:16 am

    Oh, Joel, I hear ya. The all-loving and all-merciful tortures Job to find out something the all-knowing would already know. And why? Because God has a bet with the devil! (I especially love the part about where God kills off Job’s 10 children, but it’s okay because later he gives him 10 more. ‘Cause, you know, they’re interchangeable or something.)

    Then don’t get me started on the whole “Oh BTW, Abe, lure your innocent little kid out into the desert on false pretenses so you can tie him up on a slab and threaten to slaughter him” business.

    I’m always astounded when people cite either of these examples as something good. But then, they’re also cited by people who consider the world’s worst genocide to be a cute children’s story. Oh well. Yeah, Old Jehovah is nasty to those he “loves.”

  6. StevefromMA
    StevefromMA April 7, 2017 8:53 am

    I was raised Jewish and it took me a long time to actually think about the heinous nature of God bringing Abraham to the verge of killing his son Isaac to prove his faith. The Hebrew God is an angry crazy God and I refuse to have anything to do with that one (or any other actually). F$&@ing early childhood destructive brain washing of millions.

  7. Claire
    Claire April 7, 2017 9:29 am

    Guess I should say I didn’t intend that painting to lead into theological (let alone anti-theological) discussion, though that’s in interesting turn. I’ve just been reminded lately that saints are human. They (some of them) fornicate or lie or connive with politicians. They all have tempers. They get depressed and discouraged. And sometimes they’re just plain weary and flat-out disappointed.

  8. ExpatNJ
    ExpatNJ April 7, 2017 9:49 am

    Good for you Claire! I’m glad you got the ‘art gene’.
    Me? I couldn’t paint the side of a barn to save my life.

  9. Joel
    Joel April 7, 2017 3:59 pm

    “Guess I should say I didn’t intend that painting to lead into theological (let alone anti-theological) discussion, though that’s in interesting turn.”

    Yeah, but still. Can’t help having it come to mind. Imagine getting that visit from Gabriel: “Hail, Mary, blessed of God! I’ve come from the All-High with good news! And bad news. And really bad news.”

    Looking at the picture again, it’s pretty clear you did imagine it. It would make me wish I wasn’t so damned blessed.

  10. MJR
    MJR April 7, 2017 9:24 pm

    Very nice.

  11. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran April 8, 2017 6:42 am

    Claire wrote: “Then don’t get me started on the whole “Oh BTW, Abe, lure your innocent little kid out into the desert on false pretenses so you can tie him up on a slab and threaten to slaughter him” business.”

    This one has always bothered me too, Claire! I have 3 kids, all grown up now, but I would unquestioningly sacrifice my life for them! I would have told God to take my life and not my kid’s!

    BTW, my sister’s name was Mary. We were close and when I was a teen, she would rescue me for weekends to get away from a bad situation that I had at home. She died the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2005 from a brain tumor. I still think of her often and miss her.

  12. StevefromMA
    StevefromMA April 8, 2017 6:59 am

    There’s a passage in New Testament, I think, maybe Romans (?) where it says ” Let us go do evil that good may come of it.”

    I always thought that was the motto, maybe subconscious, of nation-states.

    You’re right, who would think one “weary” painting would get us here.

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