Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Clown Princess

The Turn was interesting to paint - not least because it is my biggest painting so far, and the only whole body one - but didn't explore the challenge Donna had set me by wearing whiteface to the modelling session.

This particular pose stood out for me as she looked so regal - almost like Queen Elizabeth the First - despite wearing clowns make up. While she was there we did talk about how the same piece of clothing has different meanings and associations depending on what the are combined with, and one of the things I like about Donna's costume is that each individual item has so many possible associations - the tiara is mine, from my wedding, but is very similar to what debutantes would have worn, as well as the plastic variety each little princess has somewhere. The white make-up has a long association with clownery, but originally was used by court ladies (and some men). Ruffs have also a long tradition, especially in art, that they really deserve their own post. Kohl is of course as old as the hills . . . whereas denim is relatively new but has gathered many associations. Dungarees are workwear, but are also often worn by young children - like those in E.T. Oh, and stripey tops do also have a tradition all of their own.

And those are just some of the more obvious clues - I'm sure each of you will think of your own associations.

Altogether, along with Donna's marvelous eyes and hint of a smile, you get a clown that is ready to rule.

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