Exactly a week after seeing glamorous bearded transvestite Conchita Wurst win the Eurovison Song Contest, its now International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The timing is excellent don't you think?
To celebrate this important date I'd like to share with you the latest progress of my painting of trans gender stunner Grace Oni Smith.
Grace's portrait as a Pre Raphaelite lady is really beginning to take shape now. I have been working on building up the contours of her face whilst keeping the many variations of skin tone and colour in order to give her that fresh glowing from within look that the Victorian muses had.
But unlike those girls of yesteryear Grace is a drag queen and was in Pre Raphaelite drag when I photographed her. So I have also been working on getting the balance of classic beauty and stage diva just right. I want Grace to shine through but I also feel her make up is an important extension of who she is so I want that slightly over the top quality to add impact.
As you can see in the photo above I test out lots of mixes of colour on a separate sheet before applying the paint, to make sure I've got what I want. You can also see the reference photo I'm working from and a glimpse of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting, 'The Beloved' fixed above the canvas. This painting sprang to mind as I was working, as one of the models in the background has a similar pose and gaze to Grace.
One of the biggest visual anchors that both Pre Raphaelite women and contemporary drag queens share is big kissable swollen lips!
I've been working quite intensively on getting Grace's smackers just right as she naturally has a very Pre Raphaelite look to her mouth.
I think I'll make them slightly more red, but I'm pleased with how bee stung they currently look! For me, getting the right attitude and look to the features is the main thing when painting someone. I always strive to capture who that person is and this is the most time consuming part, but I love every minute!
I'm back in the studio on Tuesday so join me soon to find out more
Until then, I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend and a great International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia :)