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This one took four nights, two of which were exploring options and trying to figure out what it was saying to me. It started with the model and the pose, which I loved, but I didn't know who the character was or what her story was.
Another aspect that proved time consuming was the environment I was putting her in. Usually, I do spend time on environments, but since the focus of my work is portraiture, the backgrounds are usually just that - supporting backgrounds that flesh out or elaborate on a central idea. But this time, the mood was equal parts subject and environment, so they both needed some attention.
In my little corner of the world, we are finally coming out of a seemingly endless winter, six months, half the year, in a frozen state of dormancy and no greenery. I find winter hostile and severe, and coming out of such a long spell, it is hard to see any kind of light at the end of the exceedingly long night of this season.
In psychiatric circles, spring, not winter, has the highest suicide rates, likely due to the fact that your body cannot adjust out of the darkness of winter, even as all around you, life is renewed.
My character is walking forlorn through a barren, lifeless wasteland - harsh lines and bare trees, cold wind and gusts of snow. Offsetting that is her brilliant crimson long coat, and a small but brilliant light emanating from within, perhaps a sign of life still beating in the most inhospitable landscapes or moods. This also spoke to the power of creativity, surviving all manner of opposition - be it apathy, lack of support or interest, or real life, with all its muted, dull rigors.