“Venus in the Face of the Sun” • oil • 30hx24w
Venus’s orbit passed in front of the sun in June 2012. The painting reveals a rotation using the mass and form of the human body, the enormous sun filling the negative space. Because her orbit can be predicted through mathematical equations, she has enabled men in the 17th century and 21st century to learn about the structure of our solar system and planets beyond.
The model was dancing at a festival at one of our local beaches. I happened to go to the beach that day with my camera. The belly dancers had great presence and I saved the photos thinking I would just paint them as they appeared. However, there was such a record of movement in the photographs, I changed my mind and decided to create another study of the figure in motion.
I had just finished my studies on Pluto and it’s moon, Charon, so I think my head was still in the stars! Since the planet Venus had passed by, I thought, why not record her transit in a joyful way. My other reference photo is from the NASA site where there is a tiny black dot on the Sun. Backlighting the figure seemed to make sense.
Backlighting her yet giving some details and leaving some out was an interesting process. I found myself playing with a balance of detail and abstraction until I felt I could declare it done. The Sun was created from a lot of layers and brush strokes to create the movement on its surface. Thank you NASA again for the cool pics!
Here is a poem by Jeremiah Horrocks. Jeremiah and his friend William Crabtree observed the transit of Venus in 1639. “Venus in Sole Visa” was a publication of Jeremiah’s calculations. The publication of “Venus Seen on the Sun” influenced the achievements of Isaac Newton. Jeremiah only lived to be 22 years old.
” …Thy return
Posterity shall witness; years must roll
Away, but then at length the splendid sight
Again shall greet our distant children’s eyes.”