Twirling Syd, 16x22, pastel on UArt © Nelia Harper
Twirling Syd

A simple moment caught in time.  A young girl sings a song and twirls an umbrella.  A cell phone camera captures the moment.  That moment is shared among friends.  The artist eye sees that moment and the urge to paint is there.

I can see the painting in my mind’s eye.  “Sure!” Mom says.  “I’d love to see you paint this!”

We talk about what the painting could be, i throw out some ideas.  Then, back in the studio, I dive deeper into the image and realize that so much is said in so little.

Pastel, 16×22


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Nothing to Wear, pastel on paper, 21x18.5, © Nelia Harper
Nothing to Wear

This painting was the final project for a semester of figure drawing. The painting was based on the theme, “the human figure as an expression of inner psychology”.

The idea for the painting stemmed from thinking about how children embody characters through costume and the evolution of this over time.  As children they want to be batman, spiderman, a cowboy or a princess. They take on the costume as who they are. However, as we grow and become adults, we often take on masks/costumes to go about our daily activities, whether we want to embody them or not.

This concept was then coupled with a woman trying on clothes from her closet and finding ‘nothing to wear’ from the multiple outfits available to her. Here, she is dressed in a simple black dress and holds a mask to her face. Is she preparing for a night out? A day at work? What do we assume about her from the mask? How do we read her eyes shining through? Who is she behind the mask?

Pastel on Canson Paper, 21×18.5


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