Diptych oil on board. Starting with a very thin layer of Terre Verte to get down the shadow shapes. I had considered using Burnt Umber for the base layer, but I really like the idea of starting my painting with Green Earth. I used a big, broad brush and lots of turpentine, using a reduction technique to put the paint down and then pull out the highlights. I’m happy with this beginning.

Last night a fellow student asked about the “symbology” in the painting (he was making a joke, referencing something else, but I didn’t get it. He put on an accent and everything). I asked if he really wanted to know and proceeded to talk about this painting for about the entire lesson.

That’s what happens when you plan a painting for two years.

The concept has remained the same (Hestia/Hermes) but the execution has altered dramatically from 2014. Back then, this was going to be a mixed media piece, with the base layer being a collage of images I had drawn from the internet, the basic imagery being “moon” on the Hestia side and “sun” on the Hermes side.

Now it’s a pure painting of a bowl and an arm.

Except the bowl is more than a bowl and that arm is not just a static arm.

It’s a diptych with lots of dichotomy. It’s about female/male; down/up; spirit/soul; inside/outside; Hestia/Hermes.

Hestia is the Goddess of the Hearth, revered in the plum center of every single home. Hermes is the messenger, the only being able to move freely between Olympus, Earth and Hades.

Hermes’s symbols include snakes and winged feet/helmet, and I’m going to bring that into his side later (maybe as very stylised images superimposed onto the background). Hestia is the fire and her bowl is going to be lit up with a candle on the inside, but I want to paint it dark first and then light it up. I hope it works.

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