I enlisted my kids to help put the first coat of gesso onto the big canvas. They’re really good at helping me in the studio, seldom complaining and usually cheerful, especially when there are donuts and lunch offered as tasty treats.

After lunch I shot photos of Hayley, one of my drawing students, who modeled in an empire maxi dress as two of the virtues: Faith (holding a candle and pointing to the sky) and Prudence (looking into a mirror while holding a snake in the other hand). Although I have yet to design the entire scheme of the big piece I know roughly what it’s going to look like, and and have a half-figured-out imaginary world brewing in my mind as a setting for the figures of the virtues and the traveler. I’m particularly interested in the gardens of the Palatine Winter King and Queen and Sandro Botticelli’s paintings as sources of inspiration for the setting, so alongside alchemical symbolism and Neo-Platonic allegorical figures don’t be surprised to see lots of trees and inter-twining vines, with flowers and romantic, dreamy women.

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