Angel of Siena ~ Inspiration and a Guiding Force

Particularly inspired by this bronze angel at the Duomo in Siena,  I began this painting several weeks ago. At the time I had no notion she would guide me in the direction for my Muses of Tuscany book.

angel in Siena
Floor mosaic, white, black and siena marble

I simply wanted to capture the light. I was inspired by the silhouette of the bronze angel in contrast to so much visual stimulation of the duomo itself. Striped marble walls and columns, complex black and white marble mosaics on the floors ~ the large silhouette of the angel provided welcome relief from all the busyness.

Interior Duomo in Siena
Interior Duomo in Siena

I began painting her with a greenish bronze color. This local color however did not convey what I wanted to say. I can’t say I knew what I wanted to say in words. Rather I had a feeling about the angel which drew me to her. Painting her, I became absorbed in the contrast of warm yellow shadows and cool blue light coming in through the upper windows.

angel in Siena
Initial block-in for Angel of Siena

Painting this challenged me. Strong local colors of the dark green and light marble stripes throughout the Duomo were hard to subdue in the painting. I used layers of glazes to adjust them. Hence what is a greenish bronze sculpture is now washed with purple and pink hues. Yet her greenish bronze undertones remain visible.

In contrast, Ultramarine Blues wash cool light onto green marble in the nave below. The gold leaf ornamental elements are also washed with warm and cool glazes, appearing deeper yellow orange in the shadows and pale greenish in the cool light.

Duomo in Siena
Angel of Siena, oil, 14 x 11

I think perhaps this is why I paint ~ to adjust my view of the world to one of peace. Quelling the noise seems a simple, yet compelling reason to paint. Discovering what the creative voice within has to say is a fine reward.

In the weeks since starting this painting, I have painted a number of doorways and windows in cathedrals, monasteries and the hill towns surrounding them. In these I am beginning to see how the thread of inspiration for Muses of Tuscany is woven.

Cool high-frequency colors from above interwoven with lower earth-frequency colors create an integrated grid work of harmonious color and light. Each painting incorporates this grid work with symbols of passage and peace.

Doorways and windows serve as symbolic portals to the inner creative voice. Each offers an invitation that speaks to specific people. Colors align with each person’s particular aura. Like a magnet attracts the opposite pole, each color harmony balances someone’s aura.

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