Passion Morphs into Virtue: Artist, Sandi Whetzel's Recent Painting

Virtue in the Vines 16x16 acrylic ©Sandi Whetzel
During one of my "all-things-wine" modes of thought, I saw a simple line-drawing -- an eyebrow, eye, nose and lips bordered on the right side by a large comma-shaped line defining a woman's cheek and chin. A long curved line like the left half of a parenthesis mark stretched below the right side of her chin, forming the right side of her neck. Large generic leaves flowed around her facial features like hair. Leaf veins separated the leaves into sections like locks of hair rippling down her right cheek, exposing the line of her neck. A large leaf swooped over the left side of her face obscuring her left eye, cheek and neck. The facial shape and the slim exposed right side of her neck resembled a woman's face inside a wine goblet.  Well, I was  in "all-things-wine" mode -- an inspiration for a wine painting was hatched.

I intended to create a similar style painting of a woman's face shaped like a wine goblet with loose outlines of grape leaves representing hair sweeping over one side of her face and neck. The exposed side of her neck, expressed as a vertical curved line, formed the goblet stem. After I outlined her eyebrow, eye, nose and lips, my passion for a sensual, rather than an abstract portrayal took over. I might paint an abstract image inspired by that line drawing I saw sometime, but I couldn't bring myself to do it this time.

I ditched the idea of making her face and neck resemble the shape of a wine goblet. It would be more sensual to render her facial features realistically, as well as reveal her bare neck and shoulders--I was seduced.

I sketched many grape leaf shapes until I was satisfied with the way they layered around her face. While sketching I observed an awkward symmetrical placement of two same size leaves that resembled horns coming out of each side of her head -- thank goodness for the ability to re-do acrylic shapes. I also avoided a halo effect circling her head. It was a delicate balancing act to arrive at the most pleasing leaf configurations.

To add abstraction and a little mystery, I rendered her in shadowed reflections of the grape leaves in light and dark shades of green. To create a serene, earthy quality, I painted the grape leaves realistically; dominating in greens with color accents in the leaves and grapes only.

Choosing the painting title was difficult. I considered Vine Goddess, Goddess of the Vine, Venus and Venus of the Vine. They were all a little too obvious. Just as her focused engagement with viewers intrigues, I wanted more than an apt label to engage viewers. I thought about the beauty from within her and the vineyard -- virtue came to mind. I liked the ring of Virtue in the Vines. Besides honor, integrity, purity, love, value and worth, virtue also means innocence, morality, chastity. I reasoned that her demeanor, as well as her unclothed appearance, might suggest something other than virtue to some. However, I liked the ambiguity Virtue in the Vines might foster. Conversely, the grapes have not been touched; not harvested; not made into wine -- she is pristine; untouched; innocent. She is Virtue in the Vines.

See more of Sandi's art here .  Upcoming Exhibits:  Gallery NorthWest, 625 SE Jackson St., Roseburg, OR, 8/1/13 to 8/31/13.  Opening Reception: 4:30 - 7:00 pm, Fri., 8/2/13 ~  Henry Goes Wine: the Grape Escape at Henry Estate Winery, 687 Hubbard Creek Road, Umpqua, OR, 8/17/13.  For tickets and schedule of entertainment, click   Sandi will will show some of her extremely shiny prints on metal.  Be one of the first to see this sleek, contemporary new print media.  You won't believe the depth and richness in prints on metal!  vine goddess metal prints

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